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BY ADITI ROY
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us all together at an unique never seen before juncture. With the “new normal” being social distancing and unprecedented hygiene protocols, the way we watch movies and spend our time at the shopping malls, is set to change forever.
Among the most affected sectors of the economy in the times of the pandemic have been the movie theatres and shopping malls. With zero footfall, paucity of cashflow, the industry looks at resilience during diffcult times. The ongoing economic slowdown, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to cull Indian media and the entertainment industry’s revenue by 16 percent – or Rs 25,000 crore – to Rs 1.3 lakh crore this fiscal, said a report by Crisil in March this year.
“The COVID pandemic has left a massive impact on the cinema exhibition industry, not just in our country, but across the globe. Operations are shut, movie releases are getting deferred, and therefore inflow of cash has entirely stopped. The industry has faced various crises in its history, but what it is going through currently could not be envisaged at any point, but at the same time, we are certain that the cinema exhibition sector would script a remarkable turnaround, as we know that we are backed by the unshakeable passion of the Indian cinema lovers,” says Alok Tandon, CEO – INOX Leisure Ltd.
With Unlock Phase 1 expected to start from the the first of June, expect to see more relaxations; the states, however, are united in their push to continue with curbs of inter-state transportation, malls and cinema halls, educational institutions and places of worship. There is no go ahead for cinema halls in the coming weeks, but Malls are set to see some footfall from 8, June as they get the clearance to open their doors to customers.
“To begin with, the malls will start its operation in phases as per the prescribed guidelines. Resumption or restoration of normal footfalls is solely dependent on containment of Covid-19 virus. Going forward, if zero cases are reported from the city, state and country, the footfalls will get restored in no time. The gradual opening-up of the multiplex and dine-in restaurants and cafes will further help in driving footfalls and trading,” maintains Manoj K. Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Viviana Mall, Thane.
“We have been preparing ourselves well over for the past two months and are geared up to open our malls, as per the government directives. We will be instituting temperature checks at all entrances and setting up protocols for maintaining social distancing such as a safe distance of minimum 1 meter from other customers and staff, not more than 3-4 customers being allowed to enter the elevator at a time (however, no of passengers will be determined depending upon the size of elevator like in DLF Cyberhub our lifts will work for 2 pax at a time due to size constraint), for escalators one customer will be allowed after 3 steps roll over, permanent distance markers will be placed in the lifts, so people don’t exceed the required capacity,” Pushpa Bector, Executive Director, DLF Shopping Malls.
The industry is in line with the “new normal” post pandemic
“Cinemas have seen through a lot of difficult phases in its history, and at every instance, have emerged smarter and stronger. We are looking at the post COVID-19 phase as another evolution with new processes and protocols, and we are sure that we will take it into our stride. We have used the lockdown phase to determine various scenarios and work out robust plans for ensuring hygiene as well as distancing,” states Tandon.
Adding, “We will remain completely respectful towards the concerns of our guests, and also understand that their faith and confidence in our preparedness on preventive measures will play a key role towards the same. We are looking at the “new normal” soon going back to the “old normal” which resembles gangs of friends and families turning up in huge numbers, heavy hustle and bustle in the lobbies, and the loud cheers in the auditoriums.”
Some of the key measures to be adopted are as follows:
Encourage paperless transactions for ticket booking and food ordering.
Check temperature of all employees, service partners and guests with non-invasive Thermo-Guns as they enter our premises.
Sanitizers stations at all the key locations and common areas.
Following rigorous cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
Areas with higher public exposure would be sanitized on an hourly basis.
Auditoriums would be sanitized after every show.
All surfaces in and around the food service areas will be disinfected regularly.
Deep cleaning of auditoriums would be carried out every day.
The teams would be asked to wear gloves and masks and will be asked to wash hands regularly.
Use of single use disposable packaging for F&B services.
PPE kits available for purchases, which would include a mask, a pair of gloves and a bottle of sanitizer
Social distancing measures
Following distancing between the guests at the entrance using demarcations
Ensuring physical distancing, we will allot seats in a way that adjacent seats are left vacant for a group or a family.
Online booking modes will be programmed to allocate seats in that order.
Movie shows will be scheduled in such a manner, that entry, intermissions and exits to two shows do not occur simultaneously, and we avoid crowding of lobbies and restrooms.
With a few big-ticket releases already opting for premiers on the OTT platforms, what challenges are movie theatres facing in the current scenario?
“First of all, we want everyone to understand that this is not a Multiplex Vs OTT scenario. All we expect the content creators to do is to release their content in theatres, followed by digital platforms, like it has been happening so far in line with the globally prevalent windowing pattern. Every phase in the cinema value chain has its own significance, and with the theatrical/ cinema hall phase being the most value-generating phase, we expect the windowing pattern to be followed. Towards this, the Multiplex Association Of India had come out with an appeal to the content creators. We had also urged the producers and studios to wait for the theatres to resume operations and follow the globally prevalent cinematic windowing pattern as it has done wonders in terms of revenues for the content creators and other stakeholders, as it offers the creators an opportunity to extract the best from all available mediums,” opines Alok Tandon.
What the coming few months look like for the multiplex industry
“Cinemas, since inception, have been the biggest contributors to the ‘experience economy’ for the past 100 years, and will continue to do so forever. There is no doubt that COVID-19 has challenged the passion for cinema which is prevalent in our country. Cinema-lovers have remained under-served on entertainment for this period, and we know that they are yearning to step out, socialise and get entertained via their favorite entertainment medium, which is cinemas. We have complete faith that the same age-old passion of the movie lovers will make them come out in huge numbers and throng cinemas. We are also sure that the signature INOX experience would come to the fore and continue to delight our patrons across the country,” Tandon rounds up.
The Tale of the Retail: Winning the confidence from the shoppers
“To mitigate the disruption caused by this crisis, retailers will need to devise strategies for the “now”, “next” and “beyond”. While they need to manage their costs through operational improvement and by evaluating the store portfolio, they also invest in service, experience, and omni-channel to serve the new consumer. As retailers react to fluidity of the “now” they also need to build resilience for the “next” when demand starts getting restored and think “beyond”. They should map a strategic journey to financial resilience at the same time plan for longer-term implications on their operating model owing to shift in external environment. Speed and agility will be key levers of success and retailers will need to adopt a FASTER approach both to navigate the crisis ‘now’ and to plan for the ‘next’ and ‘beyond’,” says report by EY India.
Bector states, “We have strong relationships with our retail partners and we are assessing the situation in real time and responding to the requests that we have received by engaging with them individually. We will work with them to come to an appropriate solution which is of mutual interest and sustainable in the long term. What matters most now is to reflect on these new changes and plan ahead – so that we all can make a successful comeback.”
Adding, “Our focus will now be on consumer safety and providing them the best experience of shopping in the mall. We have been working closely with our retail partners and the industry at large and have drafted SOP’s which include every minute details for sanitization such as door handles, wheelchairs, benches, carts etc. along with placement of sanitizer stations across all our malls. We are also embracing in technology for providing real time foot traffic, real time notifications on safety and cleanliness, booking of time slots, golden hours to visit our malls which our consumers can experience very soon on DLF Malls ‘Lukout’ APP.”
Also Read: Try These Refereshing Summer Coolers At Home
“What we foresee, fashion and F&B will open in a limited way. Movie halls and children entertainment will open later. We are initially looking at re-opening the mall between 12:00 pm – 9 pm so that consumers feel safe to come in during that time. Our consumer research tells us that consumers now will come to the malls with the purpose and decision to shop or eat. We will attract serious shoppers to the malls. And hence, our efforts will be to win our consumers’ confidence and bring them back to our malls”, suggests Pushpa Bector. (IANS)
By- Salil Gewali
If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.
Religion without compassion might give way to hatred. Compassion with a "self-interest" motive is completely irreligious. But of late, some of the religions have departed from those basic human values. Love and compassion are for only those who follow their "specific" faith. Very sadly, the religions are up as trading commodities in the world of proselytization. Better preachers attract more followers. Of course, no issue if they are not vying for their religious "supremacy". But the ground reality is utterly different. The claim for exclusive supremacy has become the first commandment --- a real bone of contention among the existing religions. In the name of religion, we have polluted our minds. we have corrupted our souls. We have also gone so much astray that God must have now shut his gateway to heaven!
Are we not too foolish to believe in the twenty-first Century --- my God is different and your God different? If the Sun and the Moon are the same for Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, by that simple logic, why is the CREATOR of the infinite cosmos not ONE for all? Is the digestive system in the stomach of a Hindu and a Christian different? The body system secrets the same kind of digestive enzymes to digest the food eaten by people of any faith. One divine power is controlling each of us. It is too outrageous that we bear malice and hostility towards others for God. The paths are different but the destination is the same. One wonders in amazement, why we are so "unscientific" in our approach to the Almighty? Why is there so much bad blood among the different faiths? Truly, our fanaticism and belligerence have become the stumbling block in our understanding of the real teachings of the holy scriptures.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.The recent unprecedented brutal atrocities upon Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Durga Puja made each of us more anxious. It should also serve as a wake-up call for West Bengal and Assam. How could one's holy place of worship provoke godless hatred in others? If God-believing people nurture animosity for others, then that religion itself has been wrongly understood or misinterpreted. Who all are to blame? Is there any organisation of rectitude that will come up to address this glaring fault line?
Brutal atrocities upon Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Durga Puja made each of us anxiousFile
All should agree that "tolerance to inhumanity" begets more violence. The act of vandalizing the religious pandals of Hindus in Bangladesh is utterly unpardonable. This calls for serious soul-searching. Who has placed the Holy Koran near the sanctum sanctorum of Hanuman Idol? The investigating agency has found out that it was not by Hindu, but some Iqbal Hossain with wrong intent upon the minority Hindus.
Iqbal Hossain, a Muslim, deliberately placed a copy of the Quran at a Puja Pandal and gave hate speeches against HindusFile
Of course, this act is not at all sacrilegious as understood. One holy mandap and another holy book do not make anything unholy. But the "intention" must be good. It is my personal observation. But this incident, a pre-mediated plan with "wrong motive", has stoked the unprecedented communal violence in Bangladesh. And consequently, many places of worship were desecrated, sacred idols were destroyed, houses and business properties of the minority community were burnt down. Besides the United State, even UN officials condemned this diabolical cruelty against the minority Hindus. Tulsi Gabbard, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, retorted – "God is love, and his true servants embody and manifest that love in this world. It is time for the supposedly secular government of Bangladesh to protect that country's religious minorities from the jihadist forces of hate."
The Hindus in the country are experiencing regular vitriolic attacks from the dogmatic group which is beyond descriptionFile
Hatred for Hindus is not confined to Bangladesh. Even in the home states, Hindus are not at all safe. Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala have become the hotbed of crime and violence against Hindus even then being the majority. The Hindus in the country are experiencing regular vitriolic attacks from the dogmatic group which is beyond description. The silence of the unpatriotic media, and other sinister forces have given enough leverage to such extremist elements. It has been established that madrasas are factories where tender minds are radicalized – the fact is passionately reiterated by an eminent social activist Khalid Umar of Lahore, Pakistan. Just two days ago, one boy in Assam posted a photo in which he placed his foot on a Ganesh idol. Such shocking instances with photos and videos are regularly posted on social media. But such cases are suppressed too soon.
Well, one can't agree more than what Human Right Activist and a senior journalist of Bangladesh – Mr Saad Hammadi has said --- "Such repeated attacks against individuals, and destruction of the homes and places of worship of minorities in Bangladesh over the years show that the state has failed in its duty to protect minorities. Targeting religious sensitivities to stoke communal tension is a serious human rights violation and requires immediate and decisive action from the government to address the situation of minorities in the country."
Here one wishes that all people would stand with Mr Saad Hammadi. The hatred and violence should always be vociferously condemned by one and all. No one has the right to hold humanity to ransom. As believers of GOD, all should shake off narrow dogmatism and malice. All need to follow the path that takes us from darkness to light and ignorance to knowledge. The practice of expressing LOVE and COMPASSION for "all" ---- irrespective of caste, creed, and colour, always ensures communal harmony and peace. Not just that, it is the pathway to DIVINITY. If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.
An India-based writer and researcher, Salil Gewali is best known for his research-based work entitled 'Great Minds on India' that has earned worldwide appreciation. Translated into Twelve languages, his book has been edited by a former NASA scientist – Dr AV Murali of Houston, USA.
By- Your Service
Taking out time for family has become very difficult as people are pretty busy in daily life and find very little time to spend with their loved ones. Planning a family vacation is an excellent way through which the whole family can step away from their daily life and have fun. You can find many destinations for a family vacation, but there is no place that can beat Aruba.
Being a part of the Caribbean islands, Aruba is a great destination to spend quality time with family. A family vacation in the Caribbean is just a fantastic choice as the islands are a great blend of everything that sums up an unforgettable time filled with adventure and fun. Aruba being one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands, is perfect for spending some quality time with family members.
There will never be a boring moment in Aruba as there is a lot to do for the best of vacation time. Be prepared to have the best of time and relaxing times. As you are going on a family vacation, you need to book and plan everything to make sure that you do it online to get the best deals. Enjoy your budget vacation in Aruba with your loved ones. Here are the ten reasons you need to plan your dream family vacation to Aruba.
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1. Beaches Curated for Families & Kids
There are plenty of beaches, in Aruba, and the best one amongst them is Palm Beach and Eagle Beach. Along with your family, you can make the most of your time by spending time on the beach. To make your beach day even more impressive, you must pack some snacks and your favourite drinks.
2. Amazing Outdoor Adventures
You can treat your family to unique outdoor activities in Aruba, such as UTV tour, ATV tour, snorkelling, Catamaran sail, jeep tour, jet skiing, and a lot more only at Around Aruba Tours & Rentals. If your kids love to indulge in some thrilling adventures, then there are many activities from which they can choose.
3. Safest Island
When it comes to family, safety becomes the topmost priority. You don't have to worry about it when you are in Aruba, as this island is regarded as one of the safest islands amongst the other Caribbean islands. You will not face any issues during your family vacation.
4. Best Accommodation for Families
In Aruba, there is a vast range of accommodations to choose from, due to which you can find the perfect pick for small as well as big families. At www.VacationAruba.com you can find amazing Aruba villas for your stay. It is an excellent choice as they are quite reasonable and provide many amenities and facilities. The Aruba villa has great interiors, an outdoor facility, amazing bedrooms, clean bathrooms and huge living space. Aruba Villa Rental are the perfect and luxurious vacation rental for families.
5. Interesting Sightseeing Attractions
There are many sightseeing attractions in Aruba, so you must choose to visit the places you like. You will get to find many fun-filled excursions which you will be able to do that your kids will really enjoy.
6. Rich Culture & Heritage
Family is all about the culture and the heritage that has been running for many years; similarly, the island has a rich culture & heritage which you will love to know. Visit the alluring sightseeing destinations of the island and book a tour so that the tour guide can guide you well. On the guided tour, you will get to listen to many stories related to the places that you will visit. Your kids and other family members will love it.
7. Perfect Fishing Adventure
The fishing adventures are just perfect if you and your family love fishing, so along with them, you can head out to catch all the exotic species. You will get to find such amazing species which you might not get in your home country, and the best part about Aruba is that the water is always brimming with lots of fish to catch. There are many fishing techniques that you can try out, like deep-sea fishing, trolling, fly fishing, and a lot more. After fishing, you can enjoy the catch of the day as there are some restaurants which will serve you.
8. Great Cuisine Options That Fits All
You will find a very wide range of cuisine options in Aruba due to the rich cultural diversity. There are people from different parts of the world who reside in Aruba, due to which you will find your cuisine easily on the island. It is best if you try out the local Aruban cuisine and cocktails, which you will not get anywhere else. Apart from experimenting with food, there is a wide variety of street food as well as fine dining options.
ALSO READ: How Vacations Create Strong Family Bonds
9. Breathtaking Natural Beauty
The natural beauty of Aruba is such that you will just be enchanted by it. You can spend quality time with your family members along with enjoying the breathtaking sights. There are tons of natural wonders that you will love, and the sights are such which you might not find them anywhere else. The incredible beauty of Aruba is what attracts people from all different parts of the world. Plan your days in Aruba in such a way that you are able to visit most of the natural wonders.
10. Snorkeling Fun
By snorkelling in Aruba, you will get to see the exotic species and the marine life of Aruba.Pexels
This activity is something that all of your family members will truly love. By snorkeling in Aruba, you will get to see the exotic species and the marine life of Aruba. Be prepared to get truly mesmerized by the beauty of Aruba. There are many snorkeling spots in Aruba, and everywhere you will have a great experience. You must try out snorkeling at Eagle Beach to get the best experience. The water in Aruba is so clear that you will have a great experience doing snorkeling.
Here were the ten reasons you need to plan your dream family vacation to Aruba. On vacation, remember to make each moment the best when you are in Aruba.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links)
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.
The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.
Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.
An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.
"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.
The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.
Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.
The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).
However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.
Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.
Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: NASA, Space, Milky Way galaxy, Solar System, an X-ray telescope.