COVID-19: Most multiplexes in WB to be shut till Mar 31

Coronavirus: All single screens in Bengal shut, most multiplexes suspend shows till March 31

Indian security personnel wearing facemasks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, enter the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata on March 7, 2020. Credit: AFP Photo

All single-screen cinema halls and most of the multiplexes in West Bengal will remain shut till March 31 in wake of the coronavirus outbreak, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA), the apex body of producers, distributors and exhibitors, asked all its members to stop the screening of films.

"We have asked owners of all single screens to cancel shows with immediate effect in the interest of public safety," EIMPA president Piya Sengupta said.

The decision comes after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged cinema halls, stadiums and auditoriums to remain shut as a precautionary measure.

Follow updates of coronavirus cases in India here

The owner of Navina cinema, Naveen Chokhani, said the step was necessary to ensure the safety of audience and hall employees.

Priya Entertainments' owner Arijit Dutta said, "We are suspending all shows but please quote me as asking that why the state is not closing down malls and only cinemas."

Film Federation of India President Firdausal Hasan, who himself has put off shooting of two productions, welcomed the decision.

"Nothing is more important than public safety. There should not be any laxity in preventing an outbreak. We should cooperate with the government," he said.

Leading multiplex chain INOX Leisure suspended shows in all its screens across the state.

"...we will fully respect and follow the government's advisory to keep the cinemas closed as a preventive measure. We would also like to assure our guests that we will....look forward to serve them again," it said in a statement.

SVF, which owns 13 screens across the state, also suspended shows.

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