'World's longest cinema lockdown' to end in NCR, restore 300K jobs
MANILA, Philippines — With cinemas set to reopen in the National Capital Region (NCR) after being shut down for a year and seven months, claimed to be "the world's longest cinema lockdown" by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP), CEAP released a statement on how they will strictly enforce health protocols.
CEAP President Charmaine Bauzon said that they devoted the time when cinemas were shut down to come up with solutions.
“That is the main goal right now. 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,” Bauzon said in a statement sent to Philstar.com.
The Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 (IATF) placed NCR under Alert Level 3 last week, paving the way for the reopening of cinemas, but with several restrictions: only fully vaccinated people will be admitted and seating capacity to be limited to 30%. The actual date of reopening is still subject to confirmation -- the public is advised to wait for further announcement.
Apart from adhering to Inter-Agency Task Force (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. Dr. David F. Goldsmith, PhD, Occupational & Environmental Epidemiologist at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (USA) has reviewed the efforts of NATO and commented that, “These protocols demonstrate a serious, comprehensive effort by movie theater owners to identify potential risks, and reduce them.”
These protocols are:
- Monitoring of moviegoers’ body temperature as they enter the cinema
- Moviegoers to present 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
- Deep cleaning between screenings
CEAP would like to stress that only healthy, fully vaccinated people will be allowed back to 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,” Bauzon said.
The 19-month long closure of cinemas took a severe blow to the entire movie industry, leading to unprecedented massive unemployment. CEAP estimated that a workforce of some 336,000 has lost its livelihood. These are hardworking women and men from various fields intersecting the movie business:
- Creative & Production: Directors, screenwriters, talents, editors, crew, bit players, caterers and runners
- Distribution: Logistics team, production checkers, monitoring team, back office support
- Exhibition: Cinema ticket-sellers, usher-porters, projectionists, snack bar personnel, janitors, branch management team
- Others: Cinema suppliers, event organizers, employees of stores and restaurants around cinema premises —Video from Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines YouTube channel