After being shut for nearly eight months, multiplexes in India’s western state of Maharashtra and its political capital Mumbai and the Bollywood hub will open on Thursday as the pandemic wave is seen receding.

Ahead of the festival of lights – Diwali, the state government on Wednesday issued an order to allow cinema halls, multiplexes and theaters located outside the containment zones to operate at 50 percent seating capacity.

No eatables will be allowed inside the venues, the order said.

On Oct. 15, the Indian government allowed multiplexes, cinema halls and theaters to reopen with strict standard operating procedures, but the final call was left to the respective states.

Accordingly, cinemas and multiplexes had opened in several states of India, but shutters remained down in Maharashtra, which had accounted for 20 percent of India’s total COVID-19 cases and 40 percent of the total deaths.

Since March, the movie business had come to a grinding halt following the nation-wide lockdown and movies were released on live streaming platforms without the big screen experience. Enditem

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