The Tamil Nadu government on Monday permitted theatres to screen movies at a 100% seating capacity, reported The Hindu. In November, they were permitted to fill up to 50% of their capacity, following the coronavirus-induced restrictions.

The state’s decision followed an appeal from prominent actors, including Vijay and Silambarasan, to allow the cinema halls to operate at full capacity as new releases were scheduled during and after Pongal celebrations. Vijay had also met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami last week to make a request for the same, according to The News Minute.

In its order, the state government also cited the theatre owners associations’ representation for an increase in the seating capacity at cinema halls. After this, the state administration allowed a few activities.

“The seating capacity of cinemas/theatres/multiplexes shall be permitted to increase from existing 50% to 100% by following the Standard Operating Procedure issued already,” the order released on Monday read, reported The News Minute. “Further, in order to create awareness among the spectators, the precautionary measures for Covid-19 shall also be screened during the showtime.”

With this, Tamil Nadu becomes the first state in India to allow 100% seating amid the coronavirus pandemic. It has 8,127 active cases in the state, with 8,00,429 recoveries, and 12,156 deaths as of Monday morning, according to the Union health ministry’s data.

Meanwhile, the state capital Chennai has been tackling outbreaks in hotels. Twenty staff members at the Leela Palace Hotel in Chennai have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Greater Chennai Corporation officials have designated the luxury hotel as a cluster of coronavirus cases and asked it to cancel all banquets for a few days.

The outbreak in Leela Palace is the third cluster that has been reported in less than a month in Chennai. On Saturday, officials had said that 85 people, including staff members of ITC Grand Chola, another luxury hotel in the city, were found to be coronavirus positive since December 15. Earlier in December, the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras was temporarily shut down after about 71 people, including 66 students, tested positive.

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Coronavirus: 20 people in Chennai’s Leela Palace hotel test positive