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Gyms, internet cafes, review centers reopening moved to Aug. 31 —DTI

The government is postponing the reopening of certain sectors under general community quarantine (GCQ), which were recently allowed to operate prior to Metro Manila and its nearby provinces’ return to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), until the end of August, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Wednesday.

“The NTF (National Task Force) last night basically reaffirmed earlier Cabinet meeting, presided by ES (the Executive Secretary), to postpone the reopening of the last batch of sectors, to areas recently declared under MECQ until Aug. 18, and declared GCQ starting Aug. 19,” Lopez said in a text message.

“The reopening of last-batch sectors such as gyms, review centers, internet cafes will be postponed until August 31,  following the principle of gradual reopening from MECQ to GCQ,” the Trade chief added.

On Tuesday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that gyms and internet cafes are once again barred from operating in areas under GCQ.

Roque said the decision was made even before Metro Manila and nearby provinces reverted to stricter MECQ from August 4 to 18, as President Rodrigo Duterte heeded the call of the medical community for “time out” due to rising COVID-19 cases being admitted to hospitals.

Prior to the expiration of the MECQ, Duterte ordered Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal will be under less stringent GCQ from August 19 to 31.

Prior to NCR and its adjacent provinces' return to MECQ, the Department of Trade and Industry recommended the following sectors to reopen at 30% capacity: 

  • testing and tutorial centers, review centers
  • gyms, fitness centers, and sports facilities
  • Internet cafes
  • personal Grooming (hair, nail, skincare except for full body massage) and aesthetic services
  • pet grooming

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) then approved the resumption of operations of the DTI-recommended sectors, starting August 1, but their reopening was cut short due to Metro Manila and its four nearby provinces’ return to MECQ.

But Lopez clarified that the postponement of the opening of “last batch sectors” such as gyms, internet cafes, and review centers until August 31 “applies only to GCQ areas (that came from MECQ until Aug. 18).“

“Thus, referring to Manila and adjoining Provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan,” Lopez said.

Nevertheless, the Cabinet official said dine-in restaurants, salons, and barbershops will resume on August 19, under GCQ.

Other areas placed under GCQ were Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province.

The rest of the Philippines will be under modified general community quarantine until the end of the month. —LBG, GMA News