Gyms, massage parlors in GCQ areas get okay to operate at 75%

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    THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has increased the allowable operating capacities of businesses in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) effective November 1 to further help boost the reopening of the economy amid the continued risks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) contamination.

    In Memorandum Circular 20-57 Series of 2020 dated October 31, the DTI said business establishments or activities under Category III are now permitted at 75 percent capacity in GCQ areas and 100 percent in areas under modified GCQ.

    Category III businesses include testing, tutorial and review centers; gyms, fitness centers and sports facilities; internet cafes, dermatological clinics offering aesthetic procedures, other personal care services including full body massage, pet grooming services, drive-in cinemas; and  travel agencies, tour operators, reservation service and related activities.
    The circular re-categorized full body massage from Category IV to the less strict Category III.

    The DTI said business sectors under the Category IV level remain prohibited in GCQ areas but are already permitted at 50 percent capacity in areas under MGCQ.

    Category IV business activities include language, driving, dance/acting/voice schools; entertainment industries, particularly traditional cinemas and theaters; libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers; tourist destinations such as water parks, beaches and resorts; tattoo and body piercing, and live events, examples of which include meetings, conventions, exhibitions and other business events.

    The DTI circular conforms to the government consensus, as proposed by the National Economic and Development Authority, to shift from total risk avoidance to risk management. The NEDA has stressed the need for the economy to reopen and for businesses to resume to mitigate the adverse social and economic effect of the disease.

    On the other hand, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) yesterday urged businesses which have already resumed operations or those planning to reopen to strictly observe the Seven Commandments, which include the wearing of a face mask, wearing of a face shield, no talking and eating in public transports and similar settings, adequate ventilation, frequent and proper disinfection, isolation of symptomatic and COVID positives and appropriate physical distancing.

    Francis Lim, MAP president, said the following the set rules would greatly impact on the infection rate f the deady virus.