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Guidelines set for reopening of indoor cinemas on March 5

By Kara Santos Published Mar 04, 2021 12:54 am

Missed actual movie dates outside the house this past year? You could be watching blockbusters on the big screen again soon, minus the popcorn and soda.

The Department of Trade and Industry has allowed cinemas to reopen effective this Friday, March 5, 2021 subject to strict COVID-19 protocols, including a “no eating and drinking” rule inside.

Movie houses in general community quarantine areas or GCQ (Metro Manila) can now operate up to 25 percent capacity, while cinemas in modified general community quarantine areas or MGCQ areas (the rest of the country) can operate up to 50 percent capacity, the DTI said in their latest Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-08, s. 2021 released Sunday (Feb. 28).

The reopening of traditional cinemas was initially set in mid-February, but deferred to March following the release of operational guidelines.

For reference, here are the latest guidelines for the reopening of cinemas:

  1. Moviegoers should wear face masks at all times while inside the cinema.
  2. No eating and drinking inside the cinema.
  3. Employees and moviegoers need to scan the StaySafe PH QR code for contact tracing. For those without smartphones, manual contact tracing will be done.
  4. Observe at least one-meter physical distancing on all sides.
  5. Cinema operators must ensure that physical distancing is maintained in queuing areas. Operators are highly encouraged to maximize digital platforms for reservations.
  6. For free seating, cinema staff should usher moviegoers to their seats to check physical distancing.
  7. Private screenings are allowed as long as physical distancing and operational capacity requirements are met.
  8. “One Way Traffic Flow” for entry and exit.
  9. Indoor air ventilation should conform to applicable standards.
  10. Cinemas should be disinfected every screening.
  11. Moviegoers should remain seated and shall be prohibited to unnecessarily move around the venue.
  12. Keep conversations at the barest minimum.
  13. Keep cinema restrooms clean and free from trash.
  14. Cinema employees should wear PPE, face masks, and face shields.

According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, the gradual reopening is part of their mandate to ensure more businesses reopen to provide jobs and sources of livelihood in the affected sectors.

“There is shared objective in restoring economic activities while keeping the health protocol fully enforced, to prevent unnecessary surge of COVID-19 cases. This has been the working formula in previous reopening of economic sectors to bring back jobs,” he said.

Aside from the mentioned rules, the trade chief previously announced that local government units could add more health protocols and guidelines for the reopening of cinemas in their own localities.

It was previously reported that cinemas in Pasig and Marikina will remain non-operational even if Metro Manila relaxes its quarantine restrictions.

The same memorandum circular released also allows the operation of libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers at 50 percent in GCQ areas, and 75 percent in MGCQ areas.

(Images via Shutterstock)