Odisha eases Covid restrictions, allows opening of cinema halls and auditoriums

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Auditoriums, assembly halls and similar facilities are now allowed to open in Odisha. (Photo credit: Pixabay)

Bhubaneswar: The drop in Covid caseload in Odisha has prompted the government to allow starting of cultural activities, which would include opening of air theatres, orchestra and melodies from Saturday.

“Cultural gatherings, programmes including melodies, orchestra, jatra, opera, dances-classical, folk and other permitted dance forms, cultural competitions, open air theatres, drama, street plays and other such performances have been allowed to open with due compliance to Covid protocols,” an order from the special relief commissioner PK Jena said.

Auditoriums, assembly halls and similar facilities are allowed to open, he added.

According to the order, local authorities (district magistrate/SP/ municipal commissioner or any other officer authorised) concerned will give permission for the open air theatres, operas, subject to compliance of Covid-19 safety protocols such as mandatory wearing of face masks, physical distancing, provision of thermal scanning, among others.

It added, keeping the size of the open ground in view, maximum of 2,000 persons will be allowed ensuring maintenance of prescribed physical distancing norm and the seating arrangement shall be made accordingly. For indoor halls, the numbers of spectators will not exceed 50 per cent of the seating capacity of the hall.

As far as possible, the organisers should try to make a facility for online booking of tickets. Otherwise, they have to open a sufficient number of counters to prevent crowding during physical booking of tickets, it said.

Similarly, cinema halls, theatres have been allowed to open with up to 50 per cent of capacity and operate with due compliance to Covid protocols.

However, the district collector, superintendent of police, municipal commissioner and police commissioner have been empowered to further restrict the number of persons to be allowed in such functions/gatherings.

The persons having double dose/final vaccination certificate and Rapid Antigen Test (-ve)/ RT-PCR (-ve) report obtained within 72 hours prior to the function will be allowed to attend the event.

The organisers will have to obtain permission for such activities from respective local authorities and ensure adherence of strict Covid-19 protocols at the event.

Moreover, the order said that persons with symptoms of influenza like infection (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) will not be allowed. Those above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities and pregnant women are advised not to attend such functions.

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