Trade chief backs deferment of cinema reopening amid COVID-19 spike

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 08 2021 01:44 PM

A temporarily closed cinema inside a mall in Pasay City on Feb. 20, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has supported the decision of Metro Manila mayors to defer the reopening of cinemas and amusement centers amid rising COVID-19 cases in the capital region.

"Now that the cases are increasing again, we understand if they want to suspend it," he told Teleradyo in Filipino Monday.

"If we know there's a risk, then let's defer it. We don't have a problem with it. What's important is the public's safety," he added.

Lopez reiterated the decision remained up to local officials on whether to reopen such businesses depending on the gravity of the situation of their respective areas.

Last week, local chief executives in the capital region agreed to suspend the resumption of movie theaters, game arcades and other leisure activities as coronavirus infections surged in the past weeks.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos had said the suspension was temporary and would be in place until COVID-19 cases in NCR had stabilized.

In a memorandum circular issued by the trade ministry, traditional cinemas are allowed to operate at a maximum of 25 percent in areas under general community quarantine and 50 percent for those in modified general community quarantine on March 5. This is still subject to guidelines from the Department of Health and the local government units.

Meanwhile, libraries, museums, cultural centers, meetings and conventions, limited tourist attractions and video games arcades are allowed to operate at a maximum of 50 percent in GCQ and 75 percent under MGCQ areas.

Social events are restricted to 30 percent in GCQ and 50 percent in MGCQ areas.

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