Tamil Nadu Government withdraws GO permitting 100% occupancy in film theatres amid COVID-19

The development comes hours after the Madras High Court stayed the move and urged the government to reconsider its January 4 GO.
Tamil Nadu Government withdraws GO permitting 100% occupancy in film theatres amid COVID-19
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The State of Tamil Nadu has notified that it is withdrawing its January 4 order which had permitted film theatres and multiplexes to function at 100% capacity.

The move came hours after the Madras High Court stayed the January 4 Government Order (GO) and urged the government to reconsider its decision.

The new GO issued this evening states that only up to 50% occupancy will be permitted. Notably, the government has also intimated that it will allow the screening of more film shows.

This morning, the Madurai Bench had asked the government to consider allowing more shows in theatres, in lieu of increasing the seating capacity, so as to mitigate the losses being faced by theatre owners owing to closure of cinemas for the past ten months.

Later in the day, the principal Bench of the Madras High Court also directed the government to maintain status quo and permit only up to 50% seating in movie theatres until further orders. The matter was slated to be heard by the Madurai Bench on January 11. PILs challenging the January 4 GO were moved by a number of persons, including advocates.

The controversial move had also attracted strong criticism from the political opposition in Tamil.

This apart, the Central government had written to the Chief Secretary of the State Government on January 5, directing it to strictly comply with the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs which permits only up to 50% seating in movie theatres located outside containment zones.

[Read January 8 Notification]

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DIPR-P.R.No.14-Press Release- Theatre Seats-Date-Date- 8.1.2021.pdf
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