The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is mulling over the inclusion of gyms as an essential sector amid the implementation of the Alert Level System (ALS) for community quarantine.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in an event on Tuesday they are looking into improving the health safety standards in gyms to allow further operational capacity.
“We are currently studying how to tighten the safety protocols for gyms, so that we can also include them as essential services, recognizing the importance of [physical] exercise in boosting immunity levels against the virus,” Lopez said.
Under Alert 4 in the National Capital Region, indoor sports, courts or venues, fitness studies, gyms, swimming pools and other indoor leisure centers or facilities are not allowed to operate. However, those conducting a bubble-type setup as provided by relevant guidelines are permitted.
The same facilities are not allowed as well under Alert 5. Operational capacity is limited at 30 percent and 50 percent for Alert 3 and Alert 2, respectively. Full capacity is permitted under Alert 1.
Outdoor exercises, meanwhile, are allowed.
The DTI chief said that the new ALS will aid the gradual safe reopening of the economy. Confining the lockdown to “smaller pockets of areas,” he said, will allow other parts to reopen and facilitate more business activities.
“Eventually, vaccinated individuals will have more freedoms in mobility and participation in the economy, at high alert levels, especially in engaging with economic activities/sectors that are restricted or in the negative list such as personal care services, tourism, restaurants, etc.,” Lopez said.
Still, he stressed that both consumers and establishments should abide by the minimum public health standards and social distancing measures set by the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“It is very critical to have a proper ventilation in any business establishment. We also require having a safety/health officer that will ensure the store’s compliance with the basic health protocols,” he said.
With this, Lopez encouraged the establishments to apply for Safety Seal, which is a certification for establishments’ compliance with the minimum health protocol amid the pandemic.
Establishments with this certification are allowed to operate at an additional 10 percentage points on top of the prescribed on-site operational capacity.