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Gyms allowed to reopen

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has released a new memorandum circular (MC) listing additional health and safety protocols as gyms, fitness centers, and sports facilities have been allowed to partially reopen in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting Saturday.

Under MC 20-44, the DTI prohibits group workout sessions, such as Zumba, yoga, and pilates among others.

However, in a radio interview on Saturday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said workout sessions for five persons residing in the same address would be allowed. 

“Two or more (persons) shall not be allowed except for one-on-one sessions between the coach and client, or a group of people not exceeding five but residing in the same address or same household,” Lopez said in Filipino. 

He added that gym-goers must also wear training gloves throughout the workout session to minimize the risk of virus transmission because of shared gym equipment.

“Masks may only be removed when performing individual workouts,” he said, adding that equipment must also be disinfected right after every use of the client.

Lopez reminded gym operators to ensure proper ventilation and continuous air circulation in the area.

However, activities in sports facilities are limited to non-contact sports and other forms of exercise, such as walking, jogging, running, biking, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian, range shooting, and skateboarding.

Areas under modified GCQ (MGCQ) are now allowed to reopen both indoor and outdoor sports facilities, while areas under GCQ are allowed to reopen only outdoor sports facilities.

The memo circular also stated that gyms, fitness studios, and sports facilities in GCQ areas are allowed to operate for a maximum of 30-percent capacity, including restaurants and cafés. Those in MGCQ areas are permitted to operate up to 50-percent capacity.

The reopening of gyms, fitness studios, and sports facilities in GCQ areas is now allowed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the re-categorization of some businesses from Category 4 to Category 3. 

Business activities under Category 4 are only allowed to reopen in MGCQ areas and Category 3 activities are allowed to operate under GCQ.

The operation of gyms, fitness centers, and sports facilities was re-classified from Category 4 to Category 3, along with testing and tutorial centers, review centers, computer shops, establishments offering personal grooming and aesthetic services, pet grooming, and drive-in cinemas. 

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