Davao City—Movie houses would be the next batch of establishments to start operating again this week after the city government allowed more businesses and sectors to reopen due to the steady decline in Covid-19 cases.

Last week, the city sports office also disclosed that it was finalizing the guidelines that will allow residents to again engage in contact sports, such as basketball and volleyball.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, chief of the City Covid-19 Task Force said her office has allowed the reopening of cinemas but subject to the required capacity to prevent the spread of the virus.

Schlosser said the businesses that were restricted during the pandemic, because of the nature of their operation to attract crowds and spread the virus through direct physical contact like sports and personal care, would be allowed at 50-percent capacity after the quarantine restriction was downgraded to Alert Level 2.

“Under Alert Level 2, cinemas are allowed. They are allowed to operate as long as they will follow the minimum public health standard and other necessary protocols,” she said.

The City Information Office said the national task force on Covid-19 allowed establishments to operate, including cinemas and movie houses, but for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18 years of age, even if they are unvaccinated, “provided that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and minimum health protocols shall be strictly maintained.”

The information office noted that Gaisano Mall of Davao and NCCC Mall Buhangin announced on their respective social media platforms that they would reopen their cinemas on December 1.

Schlosser said the city may have allowed cinemas to operate under Alert Level 3 at 30 percent capacity, but the city government opted not to grant them permit as a precautionary measure.

Last week, only 46 of the city’s 182 barangays have Covid-19 cases, she added. “We have a lot of barangays with zero Covid-19 cases. It’s been days that we didn’t have critical or high-risk areas from November 14 to 20.”

“Those with cases have only one to two cases. We no longer have establishments on lockdown. We are so thankful to all establishments in Davao City; the establishment owners have been very cooperative,” Schlosser said.

As of November 25, the city recorded 8 cases, lower than the 10 cases reported on November 24. The city currently has a total of 198 active cases. The city has logged a total of 53,741 Covid-19 cases and 1,777 deaths since March last year.

Also last week, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio disclosed that the number of residents getting their first dose has breached the one million-mark. This puts the city at less than 200,000 short of its target of achieving herd immunity. The city has an estimated population of 1.8 million.

As of November 19, some 1,010,811 Dabawenyos received their first dose. Of this figure, 908,101 got their second dose.

The city government has started administering booster shots, or the third anti-Covid-19 injection, to health care workers last week. It plans to start giving boosters to senior citizens (A2) and persons with comorbidities (A3) this week, but this will depend on the arrival of additional vaccine supply.

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