- The Philippines is planning to reopen movie theaters, theme parks, arcades, and other businesses and establishments soon.
- According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, this will be done in a bid to help people’s livelihoods and boost the economy.
- However, several mayors have expressed opposition about the idea, saying reopening could lead to more Covid cases.
Cinemas and theme parks will be allowed to resume operations in the Philippines soon, announced presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. According to him, many businesses and establishments will be permitted to reopen in certain areas in the country.
In addition to movie theaters and theme parks, Roque added that the the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has permitted the reopening of driving schools, game arcades, libraries, museums, and conferences, among others.
Roque was, of course, quick to note that that health protocols have to be observed as businesses will be required to follow “guidelines which will provide for the operational capacity, and oversight of the appropriate regulatory agency and the concerned local government units.”
“Many workers in the industry we reopened have long lost their livelihoods and now they can finally return to work again,” added Roque.
Meanwhile, other officials have expressed serious concern about the decision.
Dr. Tony Leachon, former adviser of the Covid-19 National Task Force (NTF), posted on his social media page, asking: “Are we really doing this ? Oh,God.”
Leachon further went on that the health department has detected “19 additional Covid-19 cases positive” of the more contagious UK B.1.1.7 variant, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 44. He also added that the Philippines recently reported “2,022 new cases -the highest single-day tally since January 31.”
The idea was eventually met by opposition from mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR).
In a media interview, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said:
“At the moment there’s still some discussion among the mayors of the Metro Manila Council pertaining to some of these establishments specifically movie theaters and cinemas. There are reservations about the safety of opening these up at this time.”
Mayor Francis Zamora of San Juan City also remarked:
“You are going to allow people to be confined in an air-conditioned facility for almost two hours and I believe that this poses high risk in terms of infection.”
As of February 15, Roque announced that the reopening of cinemas will be moved to March 1.
“The IATF respects the position of mayors, especially those in Metro Manila,” he said. “That’s why the resolution stated that the reopening of cinemas will be effective after drafting guidelines with local governments particularly when it comes to seating capacity in cinemas… We both agree that there is a need to slowly reopen the economy because there are more Filipinos going hungry than those getting sick or dying due to Covid. But we also agree that we cannot ease minimum health standards.“
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