India's western state of Maharashtra has decided to reopen cinema halls and drama theaters in the state from Oct 22.
The reopening of the cinema halls, which are shut since April after the 2nd wave of COVID-19 struck, are subject to compliance with the standard operating procedure to be issued shortly to curb the spread of coronavirus, said Uddhav Thackeray, chief minister of the state on Saturday.
Maharashtra, the worst affected Indian state with still over 42,000 active cases of COVID-19, has around 1,000 cinema screens that contribute 25-30 percent of the box office collection in the country.
In 2020, India was the fifth-largest box office market in terms of revenue of 0.4 billion US dollars 2020, according to media analysts.
The cinema exhibition industry has run into an extremely adverse and hostile situation in India during the pandemic as it was among the first venues to be shut down and maybe the last sector to reopen after schools and religious places in the country.