Unlock 5: Three people can step out at a time during interval

I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to watch Thappad with my team at PVR Naraina Delhi on Thursday. There was no sense of fear — as a part-time civil defence volunteer who helped in the distribution of food and masks among the needy, I would often step out during the lockdown. In fact, the movie buff in me was thrilled to watch a film in a theatre after so many months. The 3 pm show was organised by the government for the COVID-19 frontline warriors. There were 52 people in the auditorium, including members of the health department.

Stepping into a cinema after eight months, I realised things have changed completely. We are so used to seeing theatres bustling with people; it was surreal to see only few faces. The implementation of guidelines began right from the parking lot where only alternate parking slots could be used. When taking the lift, only three people were allowed at a time, and we had to be mindful of maintaining the one-and-a-half arm distance.

Patrons have to maintain one-arm distance at the refreshment counter

At the entrance of the cinema, one could gauge that the staff was committed to ensuring the audience's safety. Each of us was screened with a disinfection scanner, following which our temperature was checked by the staff members in PPE suits. We had to mandatorily install the Aarogya Setu app on our phones. It was only when the app sent the message 'Aap surakshit hai' that each of us was allowed to enter the premises. We were told that the theatre was sanitised on the night of October 14, and again, an hour before our arrival.

Inside the auditorium, alternate seats were blocked with barricade tape reading 'Not to be occupied', thus enabling physical distancing. We were told that the empty seats would be occupied in the next show while our seats will be left unused.

Caterer Mahipal Singh caught a movie on Oct 15 

We had to follow the SOP during the intermission too. They made sure that only three people stepped out at a time. We had to stand at the designated spots on the floor as we awaited our turn to reach the refreshment counter. Similarly, once the show was over, people were let out in units of three. It was incredible to see everyone following the guidelines stringently. If this goes on, people won't have a reason to worry, and can watch the Friday releases with peace of mind.

- As told to Uma Ramasubramanian

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