26 May 2021: Maharashtra government finally responds, asks cine bodies to submit SOPs
For the past two months, Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry associations like the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) have been constantly writing to the Maharashtra government, requesting and appealing for aid for its members during the pandemic. The state government has finally communicated from their end, and has asked the associations to send their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for approval.
Details: FWICE will be sending the SOPs today
Confirming the news, FWICE's Ashok Dubey told The Times of India that they would send the same today. "Most of [the SOPs] is going to be the same, and the only and most important addition is vaccination of the entire unit before they come on set to be made mandatory." The addition was made after a meeting took place between FWICE, producers, and broadcasters.
Terms: Vaccination may not mean everyone can return to work
Even if the vaccination drive is conducted successfully, it will not guarantee assured work as "crowd sequences, big song sequences, and crowding on sets will not be allowed." This means junior artists and dancers will have to wait for the COVID-19 situation to get better before getting work. To note, FWICE alone has 30,000 members, of whom the majority depend on daily wages.
Expectation: Bollywood wishes to resume production from June 1
Earlier, Yash Raj Films had asked the Uddhav Thackeray-led administration's permission to bear the cost of vaccination of FWICE members. Meanwhile, unlike last year's lockdown, senior citizens will be able to work and come on the sets without any restrictions this year. With the state reportedly planning to ease lockdown restrictions from June 1, Bollywood producers hope to resume work by then.
Information: Maharashtra reports steady decline in daily new infections
As per the latest information, the Maharashtra government is mulling between June 1 or June 7 to lift the state-wide restrictions. The western state has been reporting a steady fall in daily new infections, prompting the administration to think about reopening. While no reports of special aid to the industry daily wage earners from the government surfaced, this is a welcome step.
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