Medical expert suggests moving cinemas outdoors

Published February 15, 2021, 3:30 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

A medical expert recommended on Monday, Feb. 15, the transfer of movie theaters outdoors before they will be allowed to reopen by March.

According to Minguita Padilla of the University of the Philippines-College of Medicine, air-conditioned cinemas may lead to spikes in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and discourage potential viewers.

“Baka pwedeng gawin ng LGUs is outdoor cinemas. Ang ikinakatakot ng mga doktor is that kahit bawasan ang tao sa loob ng cinema, kasi kulob or air-conditioned, maaari pa ring may ma-infect. (Maybe local government units can do outdoor cinemas. What doctors fear is that even if the number of people inside the cinema is reduced, it is still an enclosed space or is airconditioned, and people can still get infected),” Padilla said in a virtual Palace press briefing.

Moving cinemas outdoors will curb the potential emission of COVID-19, she added.

Malacañang has announced the reopening of traditional cinemas in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) last Feb. 12.

They will be allowed to resume operations by March 1 but subject to the approval of local government units.

Local chief executives in Metro Manila were still wary of reopening movie houses within their jurisdictions, citing that the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases did not go through proper consultation and specific guidelines.

Aside from cinemas, the government will also soon allow the reopening of game arcades and other leisure activities in areas under GCQ status.