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    Cinemas lost 90% of business in 2020

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    Some 300,000 workers in the cinema industry from production to distribution in theaters may have a chance to go back to work if and when the sector reopens further beginning today.

    Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters in a text message the P13-billion  traditional cinema industry has lost 90 percent of its business since the lockdown due to the new coronavirus disease 2019 in March last year.

    The Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed  cinemas to operate at 50 percent of their capacity in areas declared under general community quarantine (GCQ) and further to 75 percent from the current 50 percent in areas under modified GCQ (MGCQ).

    Lopez said pre-pandemic, cinemas were posting annual revenues of P13 billion but this has shrunk to P1.3 billion in 2020.

    Pre-pandemic, the industry employed 300,000, he added.

    “Cinemas in MGCQ areas have opened already. So it’s approximately half of the economy that are still in GCQ where cinemas will be opened,” Lopez said.

    Lopez said the IATF’s move was reviewed by experts in the technical working group within the task force, with the requirement for additional safety protocols such as ventilation.

    This is in the wake of some experts’ opinion that staying inside an enclosed area such as a cinema for an extended period can trigger a super-spreader event.

    Metro mayors are also hesitant to open cinemas in their respective local government units.

    Aside from traditional cinemas, also allowed to reopen are driving schools, video and interactive game arcades, libraries, archives, museums, cultural centers, as well as some tourist attractions like parks, theme parks, natural sites and historical landmarks.

    The IATF has allowed the conduct of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhiibitions as well as social events in accredited establishments of the Department of Tourism.

    Religious gatherings in GCQ areas will also be allowed to operate up to 50 percent of their capacity from the present 30 percent. – Irma Isip