It has been over a year since some people in the country lost access to one of their go-to places before: the cinemas. While watching movies on online streaming platforms are fun, it’s different when you watch it with a crowd in person. Cinema operators finally allowed the resumption of theaters in Metro Manila when it eases to Alert Level 3 on Saturday, October 16.
The updated guidelines on the pilot implementation of the said alert level state that cinemas and movie houses are permitted to operate at a maximum of 30% indoor capacity for fully-vaccinated persons and 50% outdoor venue capacity.
To guarantee the safe reopening of theaters, the Cinema Exhibitor Association of the Philippines (CEAP) said they have formed a set of protocols. CEAP President Charmaine Bauzon said, ‘Kapag nagbukas po tayo dapat one seat apart muna, tapos the whole time na nanunood ng sine naka-mask ‘yung mga nanunood. Tapos wala munang kakain.’
Cinema staff should follow minimum health protocols like being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and properly washing their hands. Buazon said that the protocols they formed were based on the National Association of Theater Owners in the United States.
‘Tayo na lang ‘yung bansang hindi pa nakapagbukas,’ she explained. ‘Doon sa mga karatig nating mga bansa, kahit na nagka-spike, for example sa India or Indonesia, nagbukas na rin po sila.’
Back in March 2020, the government ordered the closure of theaters because of the pandemic. The cinema industry has lost P21 billion in revenues since then. Buazon also said over 300,000 workers in the business have also lost their jobs such as ticket sellers, ushers, security, projectionists, housekeeping staff, creatives who work in film production, and the like.
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