Gyms, drive-in cinemas allowed in GCQ areas starting August 1

The Philippine government is allowing gyms, fitness centers, pet grooming, and other types of establishments to operate in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas, starting August 1, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced on Wednesday, July 29.

The new types of businesses allowed to operate at 30% capacity are the following:

  • Gyms, fitness centers, sports facilities for non-contact sports
  • Internet cafes
  • Establishments offering personal grooming and aesthetic services
  • Pet grooming
  • drive-in cinemas
  • Testing, tutorial, review centers

All these establishments must comply with health protocols to be crafted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Health (DOH). These requirements are not yet available as of posting.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez clarified to Rappler that only gyms for non-contact sports will be allowed to resume operations on August 1.

This is because contact sports like boxing, karate, basketball, and judo may cause infections because they involve persons touching or being near one another, which could cause the transfer of the virus.

Quarantine guidelines allow only non-contact sports, like jogging, badminton, golf, tennis, range-shooting, swimming, and skateboarding, in GCQ areas.

Experts have warned of the danger of spreading droplets carrying Sars-Cov-2 in confined spaces like gyms, especially since exercise leads to prolonged heavy breathing. For this reason, exercising outdoors, where air can flow and disperse, is deemed as safer.

A study by South Korean experts illustrated how 112 people got infected with COVID-19 after participating in dance classes in 12 fitness studios in South Korea.

"Intense physical exercise in densely populated sports facilities could increase risk for infection. Vigorous exercise in confined spaces should be minimized during outbreaks," reads the study published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

In late June, Arizona closed its gyms for a month following a spike in cases.

The new decision of the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) was recorded in its 59th resolution, made during their meeting on Tuesday, July 29.

Tourism, cultural, entertainment establishments allowed in MGCQ

In the same meeting, the task force decided to allow tourism, cultural, and entertainment establishments in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the loosest quarantine classification in the country.

The following are the allowed establishments:

  • Tattoo and body piercing
  • Live events
  • Entertainment industries
  • Libraries and archives
  • Museums and cultural centers
  • Tourism destinations
  • Driving schools
  • Dance, acting, voice schools
Still no go-signal for bars

Owners of bars or any other type of establishment that primarily serves alcoholic drinks still can't operate anywhere in the Philippines.

"Kid amusement industries" also remain prohibited under all forms of community quarantine, said Roque. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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