Amid rising cases, cinemas in Cebu City to stay closed

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THE Cebu City Government will not allow cinemas to reopen yet, despite the latest Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases resolution allowing leisure establishments to resume operations even in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

“As a moviegoer, it’s really very interesting, but as of now, wala sa gyud ta (they remain closed),” Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said in a statement Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

“Dili pa gyud (Not yet),” he reiterated.

He said cinema operators, with whom the City Government has been coordinating, understand why they can’t resume operations yet.

Cebu City is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the least restrictive form, but cases of coronavirus infection have been rising since January 2021.

On Feb. 12, Cebu City recorded 199 new cases, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 14,369.

Active cases, referring to individuals who are in isolation or in hospitals, increased to 2,761, comprising more than half of the 5,090 total active cases in Central Visayas.

Another patient died, raising the death toll in Cebu City to 712. There have been 10,896 recoveries.

IATF resolution

During its Feb. 11 meeting, the IATF allowed cinemas, museums, theme parks and other leisure establishments to reopen in areas under GCQ effective February 15, 2021.

However, their operations are subject to the implementing guidelines to be issued by the local government units (LGUs).

The facilities should also strictly observe the minimum public health standards.

Establishments that may be reopened are:

  • Driving schools;

  • Traditional cinemas, and video and interactive-game arcades;

  • Libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers;

  • Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, and limited social events in establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism; and

  • Parks, theme parks, natural sites and historical landmarks.

The IATF also approved the conduct of religious gatherings for up to 50 percent of the seating capacity of the venue.

“The reopening and further expansion shall be subject to the issuance of the implementing guidelines, which will provide for the operational capacity, and oversight of the appropriate regulatory agency

and the concerned local government units where these businesses/industries are located,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque read the IATF resolution in a virtual press briefing Friday.

Under GCQ for the entire month of February are Cordillera Administrative Region, Metro Manila, Batangas, Tacloban City, Davao City. Davao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Iligan City.

Covid-19 in Cebu City

Of the 2,671 active cases in Cebu City on Feb. 11, 413 are in various barangay isolation centers, 396 at the New Normal Oasis for Adaptation and a Home (Noah) complex, 115 at the Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC), and 60 at the Bayanihan Cebu IEC Field Center.

These patients are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19.

The rest of the active cases have not developed symptoms, but are undergoing quarantine in pension houses or hotels accredited by the Department of Health (DOH).

The 170 new cases on Thursday were among the 1,389 individuals tested for Sars-CoV-2, translating to a high positivity rate of more than 12 percent that day.

Overall positivity rate is 8.5 percent, based on the 14,170 total case count out of the 166,470 individuals tested so far.

Infections in Cebu City peaked in June and July 2020, but slowed down in the later part of the year.

The number of new cases returned to double-digit levels at the beginning of 2021 and increased to over 100 a day in late January. (JJL / PAC / TPM / SUNSTAR PHILIPPINES)