IATF Approved Gyms, Internet Shops, Drive-In Cinemas to Re-open in GCQ Areas

Photo Credits: Radyo Natin

As of today, the Philippines have a total of 85,486 COVID-19 confirmed cases. Despite the risk caused by this pandemic and continuous rising of coronavirus cases, the government partially re-opens other businesses to revive our dying economy. This is only limited for areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), of course, with strict health protocols.

On the 28th of July 2020, Wednesday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved their proposal to allow the re-opening of more sectors in GCQ areas. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque stated that the IATF recategorized the classification of Category IV industries to Category III industries to allow their limited operations. He added that these industries include testing and tutorial centers, review centers, gyms, fitness centers and sports facilities, internet café, establishments offering personal grooming and aesthetic services, pet grooming, and drive-in cinemas. According to Secretary Lopez, only 30 percent of capacity will operate and should follow health protocols. He also said that if these businesses complied with all protocols, the department may allow increasing their capacity by 50 percent, just like what happened to barbershops and dine-in restaurants.

The decision will be effective on the 21st of August 2020, Saturday. Ramon Lopez said in an interview over Teleradyo that the DTI allowed internet cafés because of education and work. It was allowed due to blended learning and e-learning of students for incoming classes amidst the COVID-19 crisis. They also allowed the grooming services sector such as nails, skincare, and aesthetics. The proposed drive-in cinema by some business sectors has been allowed too as long as it’s safe for the public. The operating capacity may still increase depending on their compliance for strict protocols like spraying alcohol, putting sanitizing mat, checking of temperature, and other safety measures.

Filipinos wanted to revitalize the failing economy. In spite of the danger, they have no choice other than to work and find an avenue to survive. We don’t have a vaccine, yet they are brave enough to toil for their families. People are doing their part to save the country’s resources, hence the government should secure their safety. We need a comprehensive plan, progressive mass testing, and a COVID-19 road map to recovery. Our citizens are not lazy nor hardheaded rule-breakers, they’re just trying all it takes to afford to live. We shouldn’t just adapt to the new normal, but we should bring back the normal rather.

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