AFTER being closed for 19 months due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) quarantines, cinemas in are now reopening in the National Capital Region (NCR), with the movie houses following a number of safety protocols.

“We have devoted the past 19 months of cinema closure identifying solutions and precautions based on science.  We will implement these measures to confidently welcome back movie fans to cinemas and send them home safe,” Charmaine Bauzon, president of The Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP) said in a statement.

On Oct. 13, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, placed the NCR under Alert Level 3, and allowed the reopening of cinemas at 30% capacity for fully vaccinated moviegoers.

“The date of reopening is still subject to confirmation — the public is advised to wait for further announcement,” the press release said.

“We would like to assure the public that cinema is a safe place,” Ms. Bauzon said. “In fact, LGUs have converted some theaters into vaccination centers, and no super-spreading were ever reported, even though people waited inside for hours.”

Aside from adhering to IATF-mandated health standards, CEAP has also developed the “Sa Sine Safe Ka” protocols patterned after the CinemaSafe measures set by America’s National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and endorsed by epidemiologists.

The following protocols are:

  • Monitoring of moviegoers’ body temperature as they enter the cinema;
  • Moviegoers to present an authentic vaccination card;
  • Implement regulations set by the IATF and LGUs on facial coverings;
  • No eating inside the cinema;
  • Enforce socially distanced seating;
  • Encourage contact-less transaction in ticket-purchasing;
  • Improved air ventilation;
  • Availability of hand sanitizers at the cinema entrance;
  • Mandatory hand-washing every 30 minutes for cinema employees; and
  • Deep cleaning between screenings.

CEAP would like to stress that only healthy, fully vaccinated people will be allowed back into the cinemas.

“If you are experiencing a fever, cough, or other symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 — or think that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay home and we welcome you to join us again in the future,” Ms. Bauzon said.

The 19-month closure of cinemas lead to the loss of an estimated 336,000 jobs in the movie industry the statement said.