Better than Streaming: SM Cinema is reopening nationwide!

Welcome back, fellow geeks and movie buffs! If you are present here in the Philippines and you really crave for watching movies inside the cinema, then you will be happy to know that major cinema operator SM Cinema is gradually reopening its cinemas around the nation complete with safety measures related to COVID-19 (note: SM Cinema has been certified by the Safety Seal program) and the stuff that people enjoy watching inside an SM-operated movie theater.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from SMSupermalls.com. Some parts in boldface…

A premium cinema with leather seats. (photo source – SM Cinema)

First to reopen is SM Cinema Aura Premier on November 17, Wednesday. The newly redeveloped theaters at SM Cinema North EDSAMall of Asia and Megamall will be reopening on November 24, while SM Cinema Grand Central, the newest SM Cinema branch, will be on November 26. SM Cinema FairviewSouthmall, Manila, BF Parañaque, Clark, San Lazaro, Baguio, Dasmariñas, Sta. Rosa, Sucat, Sta Mesa, and Bicutan will reopen to the public on November 30.

As one of the first establishments to acquire a Safety Seal, SM remains committed to the safety and wellbeing of their mallgoers. SM Cinema, in partnership with Hygiea Innovations and Technology, Inc, have installed MERV filters and air purifiers to ensure safe and clean cinema for everyone. A health and safety officer will be present for every screening while movie theaters will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized regularly. SM Cinema employees are fully vaccinated and will be at your service in full PPE gear.

Before you head off to the cinemas with the entire family in tow, take note of these important reminders:

  • Safety protocols will be strictly implemented within the cinemas.
  • Moviegoers, from adults to kids, must be fully vaccinated to be allowed inside the cinemas.
  • They must also wear well-fitted face masks at all times and face shields are non-mandatory and voluntary. A health declaration must be presented upon ticket purchase.
  • Temperature and symptoms will be checked upon mall entry

SM Cinema is making every step of the theatergoing experience as contactless as possible to give customers what they’re ultimately looking for these days – a safe and clean environment. Reopened SM Cinemas will have capacity restrictions to allow customers to social distance one seat apart from each other. Bringing of food inside will be prohibited for now, although drinking water will be allowed in consideration of possible emergencies and health risks. Audiences will be asked to remain in their seats during the duration of the movie, and cashless payment options will be available via GrabPay, GCash, or credit or debit card.

With a wide selection of movies genres perfect for both adults and kids, much anticipated films like Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Eternals,” “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” “Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City,” and “No Time To Die;” are just some of the movies waiting for cinephiles at SM Cinemas!

K-Pop fans will also have “Black Pink The Movie” and Monsta X: The Dreaming to look forward to, and Pinoys can get their fill of local movies like “Encanto” and “Kunwari Mahal Kita,” which will premiere starting November 24. Plus, the Metro Manila Film Festival will run from December 25 to January 7, 2022, with more Filipino movies to enjoy!

Given how dedicated SM Supermall and SM Cinema really are when it comes quality, sanitation and efficiency, it comes to no surprise that no expense was spared to make SM Cinema branches safe and the best they could be during this time of pandemic. The cinema workforce is fully vaccinated and they have the equipment needed to sanitize the movie theaters and keep it safe for incoming moviegoers.

For the newcomers reading this, cinemas in Metro Manila officially reopened on November 10 in relation to the easing restrictions as the daily count of new COVID-19 infections nationwide fell down dramatically. With the lessening restrictions, more people are allowed to go out and more businesses were given more freedom to accommodate more customers (both indoor and outdoor depending on the locations of their respective joints). Movie theaters or cinemas are obviously part of the businesses and now is the time for them to cater to people who want to experience once again the greatness of watching movies on the big screen which is something that streaming movies or TV shows at home can never match.

There are also other advantages that cinemas have over those streaming apps such as premium seating (note: SM Cinema has the Director’s Club line that offers extraordinary cinema comfort with leather seats, in-house butler service, and an exclusive food menu for guests), technologically advanced big-screen technologies (examples: IMAX, 3D and 4D) and premium sound systems (note: Netflix, HBO Go, HBO Max, Disney+ and all other streaming apps really have nothing to offer when it comes to top-notch audio.)

For those of you who really have decided to return to cinemas for your movie viewing pleasure, remember that what you pay for will not only help the cinema operators but also contribute to the economic recovery our nation badly needs to rise from this COVID-19 crisis. The money you pay for streaming services really do not help at all.

Once again, I encourage you all to take time out to support local cinemas with your family members or your friends. The cinema viewing experience is always better than streaming!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

DTI issues new memorandum for the reopening of cinemas in GCQ areas starting March 5, 2021

Do you miss watching movies in the cinemas? The COVID-19 pandemic really brought the movie theater industries around the world to a screeching halt which negatively impacted the way movies were distributed and led to the laying off of many employees who worked in the cinemas.

Here in the Philippines, movie theaters are only operating in cities or provinces which are under the state of MGCQ (Modified General Community Quarantine) which has lesser restrictions compared to GCQ (General Community Quarantine). The thing here is that Metro Manila (which is composed of multiple cities that each has its own government) is still under the GCQ level of control and as of this writing, movie theaters still have not reopened.

Just weeks ago, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) announced it will allow a variety of businesses to resume operations and among them are the cinemas. Unsurprisingly, the Metro Manila mayors reacted negatively.

That was back then. Even though President Rodrigo Duterte refused to shift the entire nation into MGCQ status, movie theater operators (and their employees) in Metro Manila and other areas still under GCQ status now have something to be happy with as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a new memorandum circular allowing movie theaters in GCQ zones to reopen starting March 5, 2021.

Below is an excerpt from the news article published the other night at Philippine News Agency’s website…

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-08 allowing movie houses in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to reopen starting March 5.

The circular stipulates that cinemas in GCQ areas are only allowed to operate up to 25-percent capacity.

However, moviegoers are prohibited to eat and drink, while face masks shall be worn at all times inside the cinema.

A one-meter physical distance on all sides is also required.

“In the event of free seating, cinema staff shall usher customers to their seats to comply with the physical distancing and maximum operational capacity requirements,” the MC said.

On the other hand, cinemas in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas are allowed to operate at 50-percent capacity.

As you can see in the details in the above excerpt, movie theaters in GCQ zones will be allowed to resume operations but with limitations such as 25% maximum capacity (with social distancing implemented) allowed and the prohibition on moviegoers from consuming food and beverages (this limitation will hurt the cinemas’ food and beverage business partners).

As for the requirement to wear face shields inside the cinema, it’s really a detriment because face shields obscure people’s visions and therefore moviegoers won’t be able to enjoy the visuals displayed on the big screen. 

Let’s be honest here…how many people would really want to watch films inside the movie theater without food and beverages, and having to view films with their vision negatively affected by face shields? I can only state that the DTI should reconsider these limitations soon.

It is understandable that safety measures and the health protection for the public are essential for the national authorities to do which explain the limitations for cinemas in GCQ areas. Take note from the excerpt below…

“Following the earlier agreement at the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), DTI issued the circular that will guide the implementation of a safe and gradual reopening of more businesses and economic activities. This is part of our mandate to ensure that as more businesses reopen to provide more jobs and sources of income for our countrymen, the strict health protocols are enforced,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez said while the government continues to reopen more economic and business activities, minimum health measures should be strictly implemented.

The thing which we should observe here in the Philippines is how the local government leaders of GCQ areas will react to DTI’s memorandum circular. Be aware that Metro Manila alone is home to lots of movie theaters, including those with 4D and IMAX technologies. These cinemas, many of which are part of shopping malls, have not operated for almost a year now and they badly need to resume their business not just to serve paying customers but also to take care of their employees such as security guards, ushers, ticket booth operators, film projector operators, etc. Do not forget about the businesses that partnered with cinemas to sell popcorn, snacks and beverages. Right now, economic recovery and job creation are of the utmost importance during this time of pandemic.

Now that you have read this, let me ask you what do you think about this news? Is the DTI right to issue the new memorandum? If you are living in a Metro Manila city, how has your local government leaders reacted to the news? When was the last time you watched a movie inside the cinema? Have you contacted your local cinema operator?

Watch out for further updates right here.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com