(PNA file photo)

MANILA – Movie buffs can now enjoy watching their favorite films on the big screen as cinemas in Metro Manila reopen on Wednesday.

Not all netizens, however, are that excited to visit movie houses especially that the threat of dreaded coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is still very much present despite the decline of the virus infections.

They said they still prefer to be safe watching movies in the comfort of their homes.

“May Netflix naman, safe pa, saka wala kwenta layo layo din hindi ko mahahampas yung katabi ko pag natuwa ako sa palabas (There’s Netflix and it’s safer, also you have to seat apart in the cinemas, I cannot slap my seatmate if I enjoy the movie),” Agnes Cruz said on her social media account.

In crowdsourcing on Facebook on Wednesday, most netizens responded “no” to the question: “Will you be watching a movie at the cinema now that it has opened?”

“Hindi po. Kailanganin pa din ng ibayong pag iingat. Mag Netflix nalang po muna (Not yet. We still need to be cautious. We can watch via Netflix),” Lui Alonso Belmonte commented.

Aside from the safety precautions, netizens said it is costly to go to the cinemas.

“Mas mahal sine sa Netflix. PHP200 sa sine di ba? unli movies pa sa Netflix, di pa gastos parking and popcorn (Cinemas are more costly than Netflix, it’s PHP200 right? With Netflix it's even unlimited movies, plus you do not have to pay for the parking and the popcorn),” Malou Talosig Bartolome said.

Some netizens, however, supported the opening of the movie houses as Metro Manila has been downgraded to less restrictive Alert Level 2.

“Yes! We miss it,” OneOpti Mega Malolos TesSantiago replied to the question.

They, however, said health protocols should be in place to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

“Depende sa paglabas at one seat apart lang ah (Depends on the movie and it should be one seat apart only),” Margie D. Esguerra said.

To ensure safety, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to enter the cinemas.

It said movie houses are also allowed to operate only at a minimum of 30 percent capacity.

The Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP) assured that safety is the priority through “Sa Sine Safe Ka” (In cinemas, you are safe).

Among the protocols set to protect both moviegoers and movie staff includes, body temperature check, an inspection of customers’ authentic vaccination cards, wearing face shields and face masks, improved air ventilation, availability of hand sanitizers at the entrance, socially-distanced seats, mandatory hand-washing every 30 minutes for cinema employees, and deep cleaning and sanitizing in-between screenings.

Moviegoers are also encouraged to pay for tickets via contactless transactions and in-ticket purchasing.

Bringing food and eating inside the cinemas are strictly prohibited. (PNA)