City of Manila to consult malls, health sector before reopening cinemas


(Philstar.com) – February 15, 2021 – 6:32pm
MANILA, Philippines — Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso on Monday, February 15, said that the city government is still studying the prospect of easing restrictions in cinemas, theme parks, arcades and museums.

In a statement Monday, the local chief executive said that the city government would consult first the Manila Health Department and the city’s mall owners about the IATF recommendation.

This came after the government’s coronavirus said it allowed similar establishments to resume operations under general community quarantine, though it later took back this decision. 

“We need to consult our medical frontliners especially MHD: What is the effect? Is there really a technical study? ” Domagoso told reporters at a flag-raising event earlier Monday, adding that “tough preparation and responsibility” was needed before the local government could come to a decision.

“Second, what will theater owners do with precautionary measures? We are open to the idea, but we do not want it to be sudden,” he said.

Not opening after all

At a press briefing later Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the opening of cinemas would be pushed back to March to give way for more consultations to be conducted. 

“It’s up to the local governments to craft their own operational guidelines,” he also said. 

As of the health department’s latest case bulletin issued Sunday afternoon, exactly 549,176 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the country since the pathogen first emerged in December 2019. 

It has been 335 days since the enhanced community quarantine was first hoisted over some parts of Luzon. The Philippines is still under the world’s longest lockdown. 

The mayor added that precautionary measures to be implemented in these public places, particularly in cinemas, have to be considered first to protect the general public.

“We are still studying because while it is true that we wanted to open businesses, are they ready to come up with a plan like the cinema or the ones mentioned? We can’t be surprised. We still need to be responsible. While it is true that we really wanted to move on, we just have to be responsible because of course other people also have concerns,” he said.

“It’s just, there is always preparation. You need to be responsible and prepared, not the usual normal really close. Remember this is an enclosed area, a person or a group of individuals will stay for at least an hour in one enclosed area,” Domagoso said.

— Franco Luna 



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