KOLKATA: Cinema halls are set to reopen in West Bengal from October 1 after remaining closed for over six months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday.
She also said musical, dance and magic shows would be permitted in the state from next month.
"To return to normalcy, Jatras, Plays, OATs, Cinemas & all musical, dance, recital & magic shows shall be allowed to function with 50 participants or less from 1 Oct, subject to adherence to physical distancing norms, wearing of masks & compliance to precautionary protocols," the chief minister said on Twitter.
The decision comes amid repeated requests by actors of the Bengali film industry, including Trinamool Congress MPs Dev, Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty, and industry bodies to reopen movie theatres, underscoring that cinema hall owners and employees are under severe financial stress.
The Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) and the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) had in June separately urged the Centre to grant permission for restarting shows in cinema halls.
The West Bengal government had allowed shooting for films, TV serials and web series from June 1 with not more than 35 persons on set and adhering to all health and safety protocols.
Cinema halls have been shut since the nationwide coronavirus lockdown began in late March.