TN retracts 100% occupancy order, allows theaters to run extra shows

Following a direction from the Central government, the State on Friday retracted its previous order of permitting 100 per cent occupancy in movie theatres and went back to allowing only 50 per cent people in until further orders.

On January 4, Tamil Nadu, released a GO permitting 100 per cent occupancy in theatres despite opposition parties and health experts raising an outcry over the move.

The Centre, which had only permitted only 50% occupancy as part of its COVID guidelines, threatened to take action under the Disaster Management Act if TN didn’t revert to the earlier norms.

However, theatres were permitted to run additional shows for movies screened.

Earlier in the day, the Madras High Court ordered maintenance of status quo until further orders on the seating capacity in cinema halls, allowing only 50 per cent occupancy as per the Centre’s SOP.

The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamurthy, before whom the plea came up, ordered status quo on recording the submission of Advocate General Vijay Narayan appearing for the State.

The bench, on accounting for the submission of the Advocate General that orders have been passed on a similar petition allowing status quo until January 11 by the Madurai bench and that it would be better if both the petitions are tagged so that there are no conflicting orders, directed the transfer of the petition to Madurai bench as it heard the matter first.