Trade chief proposes limited reopening of gyms in Level 4 areas

Trade chief proposes limited reopening of gyms in Level 4 areas

MANILA, Philippines — The trade department wants the operations of gyms to resume in areas under Alert Level 4, saying measures can be adopted to ensure the safety of their workers and patrons.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said supporters of the proposal believe that gyms are essential and that exercises can strengthen one's immunity against COVID-19.

"We are proposing it (resumption of gym operations) to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and it is being studied by the technical working group," Lopez said.

"Of course, we are telling this sector, as much as possible, to develop an outdoor activity for exercise in the gym. But again, the bottom line here is this is essential and it will boost immunity and the virus is here to stay so we should manage how to function in a very safe manner, save small businesses and jobs," he said.

"Besides, they have been closed for a long time."

Metro Manila under Alert Level 4

Metro Manila will be under Alert Level 4 — the second most stringent classification under the new quarantine system — until the end of the month. Under the guidelines issued by the IATF, indoor sports courts or venues, fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centers or facilities, and swimming pools are not allowed to operate in Alert Level 4 areas.

Lopez said gyms can resume limited operations while observing precautionary measures like limiting the number of persons who can avail of their services and ensuring proper ventilation.

"This is, I think, even safer than the dine-in and personal care services because there will be no removal of masks. The distance (between people) is farther — four meters apart — and it's an individual activity," the trade chief said.

"So the idea is to allow this at Alert Level 4 so there would be continuity and safer business operations. We will just adjust the operating capacity depending on the alert level so they won't open and then close because of changes in the alert level," he added.

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