Tamil Nadu government which had given permission for 100% capacity in theatres received instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) against doing so. Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla, in a letter (dated January 6, 2021) to Tamil Nadu chief secretary K Shanmugam, said the Covid-19 guidelines of the Centre cannot be diluted by the states.
The MHA, in its order on December 28, extended the guidelines up to January 31 restricting the capacity in film theatres to 50 per cent.
Bhalla also pointed out that in summons in a recent writ petition, the Supreme Court had issued clear-cut directions to state governments to enforce Covid-19 guidelines, including wearing of masks and following social distancing norms and that strict action should be taken against those violating the SOPs and regulation of the gatherings.
The Telugu film industry, which sent representations to Telangana and AP governments to allow cent per cent viewership in theatres since several films are getting released during Sankranti, will now have to make do with 50% occupancy only. The AP and Telangana governments, however, did not respond to the plea of the film industry yet.