Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection as COVID-19 cancels shows

UNTV News   •   July 1, 2020   •   437

Canada’s Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday (June 29) as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the famed circus operator to cancel shows and lay off its artists.

The Montreal-based entertainment company, which runs six shows in Las Vegas, has struggled to keep its business running amid coronavirus restrictions that started in March, forcing it to lay off about 95% of its workforce and temporarily suspend its shows.

The company has signed an agreement with its existing investors private equity fund TPG Capital, China’s Fosun International Ltd, and Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Québec under which the group will take over Cirque’s liabilities and invest $300 million to support a restart.

As part of the investment, government body Investissement Québec will provide $200 million in debt financing.

But creditors are unlikely to agree to the deal, which could result in existing debt holders getting about 45% equity in the restructured company, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

TPG, Fosun and the Canadian pension fund, which have held a majority stake in the entertainment company since 2015, will also be responsible for a $15 million employee fund to provide financial assistance to laid-off employees.

Cirque said it will seek protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), and its application will be heard on Tuesday by the Superior Court of Quebec. It will also seek its immediate provisional recognition in the United States under Chapter 15.

The company also said the artists and show staff of resident shows in Las Vegas and Orlando, which are expected to resume before the rest of its shows, would not be impacted by the layoffs. (Reuters)

(Production: Pavithra George)

PNP won’t arrest quarantine violators in first 3 days of MECQ period

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 6, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said they will not conduct any arrest during the first three days of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa said they will implement maximum tolerance at all times and will only serve warnings to quarantine violators during the three-day headstart. This would give the public time to adjust to the National Capital Region’s shift to MECQ.

“Bibigyan natin ang publiko ng swift warning on the first initial days of violations kasi kung nag-adjust ang PNP, nag-aadjust din sila and ang reminder ko lang ay maximum tolerance on the part of the PNP especially the women and elderly kung may lalabas man na elderly (We will give the public a swift warning in the first initial days of violations because if the PNP has to adjust, so do they. My only reminder is maximum tolerance on the part of the PNP especially for the women and the elderly),” he said.

The PNP Chief also reminds the public to cooperate with authorities and not provoke any officers.

“Sana naman the public will cooperate, para hindi mapilitan ang PNP na mag impose ng regulation. So please, we want the cooperation of the public para maiwasan natin ang confrontation sa checkpoint (I hope the public will cooperate and not force the PNP to impose regulation. So we want the cooperation of the public to avoid confrontation at checkpoints),” Gamboa said.

Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan have been placed under MECQ until August 18. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

PH Navy redeploys troops at MECQ checkpoints

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 6, 2020

The Philippine Navy on Tuesday (August 4) redeployed its troops to man quarantine checkpoints in areas under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).

The troops are set to aid other law enforcement agencies in ensuring an orderly and strict implementation of quarantine guidelines to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The Philippine Navy with the help of its stakeholders will also double its efforts to help the national government combat this unprecedented global pandemic,” the Philippine Navy said in a statement. AAC

Face shields required for public transport passengers starting August 15

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 5, 2020

To protect public transport commuters against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), they will be required to wear face shields, beginning August 15, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

Based on a memorandum circular of the DOTr, transport sector leaders are directed to implement a “no-face shield, no- ride” policy which will be effective in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).

DOTr Spokesperson Goddes Hope Libiran said transmission is very critical in public transportation.

“Nag-add tayo ng stricter health and sanitation protocol, iyong pagsusuot ng full-face shield sa pasahero (We added stricter health and sanitation protocol which includes wearing full-face shields), she said.

Meanwhile, Taytay, Rizal has already released an ordinance on mandatory face shields.

Several commuters, however, raised concerns over additional expenses amid the pandemic. The DOTr said it is better to purchase face shields instead of paying for hospital bills later due to infection. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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