MANILA, PHILIPPINES, MARCH 5, 2021 — The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) welcomes the great news that cinemas may reopen in both general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) areas as stated in a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) memorandum circular (MC).
According to DTI MC No. 21-08 on the reopening and expansion of business establishments or activities under Category IV in GCQ and MGCQ Areas, traditional cinemas have been moved from Category IV to Category III.
This means that cinemas may operate at 50% capacity in MGCQ areas and at 25% capacity in GCQ areas, provided that cinema operations are subject to the DTI’s mandatory health and safety protocols as well as additional guidelines from the Department of Health (DOH) and local government units (LGUs).
The DTI issued MC No. 21-08 following its agreement with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the reopening and expansion of businesses. Aside from cinemas, other businesses moved from Category IV to Category III include museums, cultural centers, libraries, video game arcades, theme parks, meetings and conventions, and limited social events.
“This is part of our mandate to ensure that as more businesses reopen to provide more jobs and sources of income for our countrymen, the strict health protocols are enforced,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who signed DTI MC No. 21-08 on February 28. It will take effect on March 5 upon publication and filing with the University of the Philippines Law Center.
The DTI MC No. 21-08 provided the Mandatory Health and Safety Protocols for Traditional Cinemas in Annex C:
1. Face masks shall be worn by moviegoers at all times while inside the cinema.
2. Drinking and eating shall be prohibited inside the cinema.
3. Employees and customers are required to scan the StaySafe PH QR Code posted at the entrance of cinemas for contact tracing purposes. (In the absence of smartphones, they shall fill out an employee health declaration form or customer contact tracing form upon entry.)
4. All individuals shall be physically distanced from other individuals by 1 meter on all sides.
5. Cinema operators must ensure that physical distancing is maintained in queuing areas. To avoid crowding, operators are highly encouraged to adopt or maximize the use of existing digital platforms for reservations.
6. In the event of free seating, cinema staff shall usher customers to their seats to comply with physical distancing and maximum operational capacity requirements.
7. Private screenings may be allowed, provided that cinemas ensure compliance with physical distancing and maximum operational capacity requirements.
8. A “One Way Traffic Flow” system shall be observed when entering or exiting theaters. For this purpose, cinema staff may be deployed or floor markings may be installed to guide moviegoers on entry/exit protocols.
9. Indoor air ventilation systems should conform with applicable protocols and standards.
10. Proper disinfection of the venue shall be done before every screening.
11. Moviegoers shall stay seated and shall not be allowed to unnecessarily move around the venue.
12. Conversations shall be kept at the barest minimum.
13. Cinema restrooms shall be kept clean and free of accumulation of trash.
14. Employees shall wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including both face mask and face shield, and shall practice proper hand washing during their duty.
The DTI announced that it will conduct strict compliance monitoring through its post-audit mechanism through the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) and Regional or Provincial Offices. Inspections by the DOH, Department of Labor and Employment, and an LGU’s Health Office may be conducted at any time. For complaints, concerned citizens may contact the DTI Consumer Care Hotline 1-384.
Since the declaration of the national state of calamity due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 16, the film sector became one of the hardest-hit sectors because of the lockdown. The estimated box office loss in 2020 was PHP 11 billion.
“The global health crisis may have put on hold the unique cinematic experience that we all love. But with the gradual reopening of cinemas nationwide, this proves that nothing really beats watching films in theaters,” said FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño, who thanked the DTI and IATF for allowing the reopening of cinemas.
She then called on cinema owners and line agencies to prioritize the screening of Filipino films. “Giving Filipino films the leverage over foreign titles is needed by the industry to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. With the synergy between the government and industry stakeholders, I am confident that Filipinos can enjoy films again as a collective without compromising public health and safety,” added Diño.
The IATF allowed the reopening of cinemas at limited capacity on February 15, but this was pushed back to March 1 after Metro Manila mayors opposed the February reopening as more consultations had to be done and LGUs had to release their guidelines. The March 1 reopening was also postponed due to the pending approval from the DOH and LGUs.
Cover photo features FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño at the FDCP’s Cinematheque Centre Manila
April 07, 2021
April 05, 2021
March 05, 2021
March 05, 2021