Cinemas can only reopen starting March 1 subject to the guidelines of local government units, Malacañang said Monday following opposition from Metro Manila mayors over the easing of restrictions.
Local government units need to formulate guidelines first on the reopening of cinemas before such establishments can be allowed to operate anew, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
"Ang pagpapatupad po ng pagbubukas ng mga sinehan, kung matutuloy po ito, ay Marso 1. Kinakailangan po ipagpatuloy ang consultations at kinakailangan bumuo ng guidelines ang mga lokal na pamahalaan bago po mabuksan ang mga sinehan," Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
"Nasa lokal na pamahalaan po yan na bumuo ng kanilang mga operational guidelines," he said.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benjamin Abalos earlier said mayors of the capital region were not in favor of reopening cinemas, even if they have been allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19.
Abalos cited the risk of staying in an enclosed and airconditioned space for the entire duration of a film.
"Hindi naman kamukha ng restaurant kung kakain ka, hindi ganuun katagal," Abalos told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
The government has been slowly easing COVID-19 restrictions across the country to boost economic spending since the lockdowns in mid-March 2020.
Community quarantines however remain in place, with Metro Manila under general community quarantine--the second most relaxed in a four-tier system, until the end of the month.