After being shut down for over a year and a half, cinemas in the Philippines are now set to reopen. Following the shift to an Alert Level 3 in NCR, the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 (IATF) together with the Local Government Units (LGUs) are at work to ensure the safety of Filipinos once these amenities resume operation. The excitement for cinemas to reopen their doors is evident not just amongst moviegoers but as well as the owners and employees of such establishments. According to the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP), during the shutdown, over 300 thousand employees lost their jobs from directors, talents, editors, cinema ticket-sellers, and many more.
Together with the excitement, however, understandably there are apprehensions that follow with the thought of watching a film in an enclosed space for a little over two hours. Rest assured, however, the IATF, LGUs, and CEAP have created a safe space and environment for moviegoers and employees alike.
Protocols For An Enjoyable and Safe Viewing Experience
Beyond adhering to the IATF guidelines the CEAP has also rolled out the “Sa Sine Safe Ka” Protocols patterned after the CinemaSafe measures set by America’s National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).
These protocols on the part of movie theaters include:
- Monitoring of moviegoers’ body temperature as they enter the cinema
- Enforcement of socially distanced seating which can range from 1-2 seats apart depending on the size of the theater.
- Theaters are to encourage contact-less transactions in ticket-purchasing such as the use of credit cards and online payment services.
- Improvements in air ventilation
- Availability of hand sanitizers at cinema entrances
- Mandatory hand-washing every 30 minutes for cinema employees
- Deep cleaning between screenings using UV lights and misting machines
In addition to these protocols, cinema managers may also opt to create additional measures to ensure the protection of their patrons and employees. Some have reported to include health declaration forms for moviegoers to fill up prior to purchasing their tickets. Some cinemas may also provide online services for patrons to book, reserve, and purchase their movie tickets.
A constant partnership between movie patrons and cinema managers and operators is needed however to ensure a safe environment for us to watch our favorite films. Responsibility on the part of us, the movie patrons, is needed which includes the constant practice of health protocols such as:
- proper use of facial coverings as set by the IATF and LGUs.
- compliance to the no eating policy of cinemas
presentation of vaccination cards with the completed number of doses
When will the cinemas reopen?
As of writing, cinemas all over the metro are still preparing for the official reopening of their respective theaters. There are test screenings that are currently being done in certain movie theaters so the exact timeline will still depend on cinemas, malls, and your respective LGUs. For more updates, we suggest that you check and follow up with your nearest or most preferred cinema outlet.
What movies can we expect?
There are a lot of huge blockbuster films that are expected to hit the silver screen before the year ends which will make the trips to the cinema even more exciting. First, on the Marvel side of the list, some of the already released films such as The Black Widow, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage will be getting their big-screen debut here in the Philippines. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can also expect the release of The Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home before the year ends.
Apart from these huge superhero-based films, the CEAP hinted at the release of following movies:
- The James Bond film, No Time To Die
- The Matrix Resurrections
- Disney’s “Encanto
- Ghostbusters Afterlife
- Kun Maupay Man It Panahon
Furthermore, fans and producers of local films can also look forward to the possibility of having our annual Metro Manila Film Festival which hits sometime in December to resume in theaters as well.
In just a matter of weeks or even just days, the sought-after experience of watching a film in a cinema would finally be a reality once again. There is a communal aspect to watching a film with other people in a cinema and slowly we are getting that glimpse and hope of these dark days eventually coming to an end.
Stay tuned to This is Hype PH for more updates as cinemas continue to open in the Philippines.