Despite the Kerala government’s approval of the cinemas reopening Tuesday after they had been closed for months due to the lockdown caused by COVID-19, theaters remained closed as the film industry wanted authorities to address their demands and concerns before the resumption.
There are over 1,200 screens in traditional theaters and multiplexes in the southern state that show movies.
Sources from the Kerala Film Chamber and Commerce (KFCC), a leading organization of producers, dealers and exhibitors associations, said it would make a final decision on reopening theaters after their emergency meeting due to take place in Kochi on Jan. 6.
Industry players wanted the government to address a myriad of demands, ranging from the abolition of the entertainment tax to the waiver of fixed electricity fees for theaters even though they have been closed for over 10 months.
“Various film associations have submitted several presentations expressing our concerns and concerns. The government has yet to give a clear answer, “a KFCC official told PT I.
“Although we were told that there would be an announcement soon after the local body polls, this is still pending. The only thing that happened was the Chief Minister’s announcement that he would approve the reopening of the theaters, ”he said.
The theater owners had urged the government to forego the fixed electricity charges that were imposed on cinemas even though they remained closed.
The waiver of the entertainment tax was also one of the many other demands made by the players in the industry. “Kerala may be the only state where entertainment tax is in addition to goods and services tax (GST). Our main request is to waive this tax, ”added the source.
Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced last week that theaters in the southern state could reopen from January 5 at 50 percent capacity and in compliance with strict COVID-19 guidelines.
Only 50 percent of the seats should be occupied or only half of the tickets should be sold. The Ministry of Health’s COVID protocol should be strictly followed. Since the cinemas had been closed for so long, they should be disinfected before reopening, he had said.