MAYORS in the capital Metro Manila will recommend a limit of 20% to 30% of seating capacity when cinemas are allowed to reopen by March.

remain wary in opening cinemas as cases of the COVID-19 consistently rise amid the gradual reopening of the economy, adding they are eyeing a 20% to 30% capacity if cinemas will reopen by next month.

In a briefing on Friday, Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Jose Arturo S. Garcia, Jr. the capital region’s 17 mayors remain hesitant in reopening movie houses even as they voted for an easing of restrictions starting next month.

In areas under the more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification, cinemas are allowed to operate at 50% capacity based on the national guidelines.

Mr. Garcia said the leaders of Metro Manila, currently under the stricter GCQ level, plan to come up with modified guidelines when it shifts to MGCQ.

“We will just come up with guidelines. Instead of 50% capacity, it would be 20% to 30%,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The country’s economic managers have recommended to place the entire country under the least restrictive MGCQ by March to spur business activities.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, in the same briefing, said the opening of cinemas in MGCQ areas did not contribute to spikes of coronavirus cases. He added that only around 27% of cinemas in these areas resumed operations.

“There are around 500 plus cinemas in MGCQ areas. In the end, they have the option not to open the 500 plus. Only 148 opened among cinemas in MGCQ,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English. — Gillian M. Cortez