Open, close: Metro mayors to suspend cinema operations as they grapple with COVID upsurge

Published March 7, 2021, 2:36 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The current upsurge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Metro Manila will lead to the closure of local cinemas just a few days after they were allowed to reopen.

(Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP / FILE PHOTO)

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos revealed Sunday, March 7 that the Metro Manila Council (MMC) is set to sign a resolution that would “temporarily suspend” the operation of such establishments in the light of the “alarming” rise in COVID-19 cases.

“Ang term is ‘temporarily suspended’ ang movie (houses), cinemas, and the arcades. Ito’y magkakaroon ng resolusyon, iikot ito at pipirmahan tomorrow (The term used was, movie houses, cinemas, and the arcades will be ‘temporarily suspended’. A resolution will be made, it will make rounds and then get signed tomorrow),” Abalos said in a DZBB radio interview.

Abalos gave no other details about the directive, but said it was just temporary and that further actions would depend on the monitoring of positive cases.

The MMC is composed of the 17 mayors in Metro Manila or the National Capital Region NCR). It is the policy-making body of the MMDA.

Cinemas were allowed to operate again last March 5, albeit at only 25 percent capacity. The NCR–the center of commerce in the country–is still under general community quarantine or GCQ.

Abalos noted how active COVID-19 cases in the metropolis jumped from around 3,700 during the last week of February to around 6600 this past week.

“Talagang may upsurge. To use the term is medyo alarming, hindi siya normal (There’s really an upsurge. To use that term is very alarming, it’s not normal),” said the former Mandaluyong City mayor.

He said the Metro mayors had a four-hour meeting with Department of Health (DOH) officials Saturday before coming up with their decision.