Cinemas, arcades OK to reopen: IATF allows more businesses to resume in GCQ areas

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2021 12:07 PM | Updated as of Feb 12 2021 06:23 PM

Pedestrians wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus cross Sumulong Highway in Antipolo City on Monday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response has allowed more industries to reopen or expand their operations soon, Malacañang said on Friday, as authorities sought to boost the pandemic-battered economy. 

The IATF, in its Thursday meeting, authorized "the reopening and further expansion" of the following industries in areas under general community quarantine or GCQ, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. 

  • Driving schools
  • Traditional cinemas
  • Video and interactive game arcades
  • Libraries, archives, museums, cultural centers
  • Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions
  • Limited social events at accredited establishments of the Department of Tourism 
  • Limited tourist attractions, such as parks, theme parks, natural sites and historical landmarks 

This will be subject to final guidelines that will be issued by the health department and local governments, Roque said in a televised public briefing.

"Ang effectivity po nito ay (of this)—I understand, magkakaroon na naman ng (there will be) guidelines— will be the 15th of February," he said. 

The Philippines has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, but Roque said improving hospital capacity provided room to ease more curbs.

"Iyong mga nabuksan nating industriya, marami pong nagtatrabaho d'yan na matagal nang walang hanapbuhay. Ngayon po magkakahanapbuhay na silang muli," he said in an interview on the government's television network. 

(In the industries that we opened, many are working there that have not had livelihood for a long time. They can now earn.)

Metro Manila, which accounts for about a third of the country's gross domestic product, is under GCQ, the second least stringent out of 4 lockdown levels, along with the Cordilleras and 6 other areas in February.

The rest is under modified general community quarantine, the loosest quarantine restriction level.
 
From one of Asia's fastest growing nations before the pandemic, the Philippines suffered its worst economic decline in 2020 as a strict coronavirus lockdown shuttered businesses and put millions out of work.

The Philippines has tallied around 545,000 coronavirus infections as the continuing pandemic has barred the economy from fully reopening. 

The government aims to start its coronavirus vaccination program in 4 public hospitals in Manila this month. Authorities aim to inoculate 70 million, or two-thirds of the country's more than 108 million people this year. 

— With a report from Reuters. 

Video courtesy of PTV