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Cinemas may not open soon in Cebu City

Sanden J. Anadia (The Freeman) - November 19, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cinemas and theaters in Cebu City are unlikely to open soon with the city government deciding to maintain status quo on some prohibited and permitted activities while the country is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Cebu City’s ad hoc committee tasked to look into the possibility of reopening cinemas, these establishments will remain closed until further orders.

Councilor Phillip Zafra, who also sits as a committee member, said the situation of COVID-19 in the city has been reviewed and it has been decided that status quo in respect of cinemas and theaters’ operations.

“There is still a high risk for community transmission of the coronavirus disease. So, the discussion on whether or not to allow these establishments to reopen is set aside for now,” he said.

“They will be allowed to operate anew once the situation improves. Cinemas are expected to draw throngs of people. This is not the right time for this and I hope the public and business owners will understand,” he added.

The councilor admitted though that this will take a further toll on the film industry.

One of the movie industry’s annual events is the Metro Manila Film Festival, which runs from December 25 until the first week of January. MMFF is meant to promote Filipino films, with no foreign films being shown in cinemas throughout the festival.

Cebu City is now under less restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Despite the status, Zafra said COVID-19 is still present and the public is still at risk.

Last month, some cinema operators asked to reopen their cinemas to the public at 50 percent capacity.

Members of the committee and Mayor Edgardo Labella met with the mall owners and cinema operators on October 7 to discuss the reopening of cinemas/movie houses and the health protocols following a go signal from the Interagency Task Force (IATF).

IATF has allowed the reopening of cinemas at 50 percent capacity in areas under MGCQ. — KQD (FREEMAN)

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