Gyms, internet cafes to reopen in GCQ areas on Aug. 1, massage parlors to remain shut

<i>Photo: Unsplash</i>
Photo: Unsplash

In its continuing bid to stimulate the economy, gyms, internet cafes, as well as tutorial centers have been allowed to reopen at limited capacity starting Aug. 1 in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said today.

“The decision is confirmed. Our mindset is…to reopen the economy, create more jobs, and for workers to return,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

“We will start with 30% [operating capacity] so that businesses can get a head start,” he added in English and Filipino.

Read: ‘Economy will die’: PH Trade Dep’t rejects stricter quarantine as COVID-19 cases top 80k

He added that the decision to reopen internet cafes was made to assist students in distance or blended learning. Grooming services, nail salons, and skincare businesses have also been allowed to resume, except for full-body massage parlors.

Lopez said that like in reopened restaurants, they can allow the establishments to operate up to 50% of their capacity if they have a good track record of complying with health protocols. However, the DTI needs three to four weeks to evaluate the situation.

In the same interview, Lopez reiterated the DTI’s preference for localized lockdowns as opposed to a return to a stricter quarantine because of the need to stimulate the economy. Metro Manila is currently under GCQ until July 31.

Earlier this week, and despite Lopez’s reservations, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said a return to stricter quarantine could be imposed across the country if COVID-19 cases reach 85,000 by the end of the month.  As of Tuesday’s official count, the Philippines has 83,673 confirmed cases, with 1,947 deaths, and 26,617 recoveries.

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