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City cinemas may resume operations

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

Cinemas in Bacolod may now resume operations provided they strictly adhere to minimum health protocols.

City Administrator Em Ang, who is also the deputy chief of the Bacolod Emergency Operations Center, said they inspected the cinemas over the weekend ahead of their re-opening to check on their set-up and preparedness for the expected influx of moviegoers.

During the inspection, the EOC gave the cinema operators the guidelines and they committed to strictly observe them for public safety, Ang said.

So far, only SM Cinemas have informed the city government of the resumption of their operations while Robinsons Movie world, Citi Mall Cinema and Ayala Cinema are yet to announce their reopening, Ang said.

At SM Cinemas, two-seat gap policy and mandatory wearing of facemasks and face shields will be implemented while BaCTrac scanning upon ticket purchase and hand sanitation will also be required.

Earlier, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) said cinemas are allowed to operate under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) based on the guidelines of the National Inter-Agency Task Force but only at 50 percent seating capacity.

Meanwhile, the EOC is no longer keen on pursuing the planned surveillance testing on over 400 members of the Bacolod Traffic Authority.

In a press conference Wednesday, Ang explained that the surveillance testing is conducted to determine the incidence or presence of infection in a particular sector  like the BTAO but the EOC has enough data available to indicate that several sectors in Bacolod have low percentages of Covid-19 prevalence.

Last month, more than 500 door-to-door delivery riders and policemen underwent surveillance testing and only four of them tested positive for Covid-19.

Ang clarified that it was not lack of testing kits that prompted the EOC to cancel the planned surveillance testing of the BTAO personnel two weeks ago, rather, they wanted spacing in the conduct of the testing. She said they are avoiding a sudden surge of positive cases that may overwhelm isolation facilities since many private firms are also initiating testing on their employees.*

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