The reopening of traditional cinemas in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) has been moved to March 1, subject to operational guidelines and approval of local government units.
In a virtual press briefing on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque addressed the position of the Metro Manila Council (made up of city mayors of Metro Manila) to defer the reopening of cinemas, which were among the businesses and industries that got a green light from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to resume operations starting today, Feb. 15.
“Nirerespeto po ng IATF ang posisyon ng ating mga alkalde, lalung-lalo na dito sa Metro Manila. Kaya sa resolution, nakasaad po 'yun na ito ay magiging epektibo matapos ang mga guidelines na i-issue ng mga LGUs, lalo na ‘yung mga guidelines sa seating capacity ng mga sinehan,” Roque said.
In an interview with One News on Monday, Parañaque City Mayor and Metro Manila Council (MMC) chairman Edwin Olivarez said the MMC have spoken with Roque and Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos to defer the opening of cinemas. On Wednesday, the council is set to meet with the IATF economic team to talk about the issue.
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual media forum Monday that guidelines on ventilation requirements for cinemas will be released by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“They (DOLE) consulted with an epidemiologist so that they can provide this ventilation requirements, specifically in enclosed spaces para lang makapag-prevent ng infection,” said Vergeire, who added that minimum health protocols will still apply once the cinemas reopen and the guidelines DOLE will provide will be supplementary to explain further what people must observe inside the cinemas.
The Department of Health has previously reminded the public that being in confined places (together with being in congested areas and close-contact settings) is among the factors that pose a high-risk COVID-19 transmission.
Under the IATF Resolution, businesses and other industries that are allowed to reopen and further expand include driving schools, video and interactive game arcades, cultural centers, libraries; meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions; and limited social events at accredited establishments of the Department of Tourism; parks, theme parks, natural sites and historical landmarks.
On Friday’s press briefing, Roque said that the IATF has allowed the reopening of the said establishments due to the need to jumpstart the economy, which has been pummeled by the effects of COVID-19.