Gyms and fitness centers will remain closed in Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, which are under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions until the end of June, according to a matrix on guidelines on quarantine restrictions released by Malacañang Tuesday.
As for Metro Manila and Bulacan, both of which are under GCQ with restrictions, gyms and fitness centers are allowed to open at 20-percent capacity, but it can be increased to 30 percent if the establishment secures a Safety Seal Certificate.
The same matrix also states that indoor tourist attractions as well as operations of venues for meetings, conferences and exhibitions remain prohibited in areas under GCQ with heightened restrictions.
Activities permitted in areas under GCQ with heightened restrictions include:
- 20 percent operational capacity for indoor dining, which can be increased to 30 percent if the establishment secures a Safety Seal issued by the Department of Trade and Industry;
- 30 percent operational capacity for personal care services not requiring mask removal, which could be increased by 10 percent if the establishment secures a Safety Seal;
- 30 percent operational capacity for outdoor tourist attractions;
- religious activities at 10 percent operational capacity, which local government units can increase to 30 percent.
Meanwhile, other businesses allowed in areas under GCQ with restrictions include:
- indoor tourist attractions at 30 percent operational capacity, which can be increased to 40 percent provided that a Safety Seal is secured;
- 50 percent operational capacity for personal care services not requiring mask removal, which could be increased by 10 percent provided that a Safety Seal is secured;
- 50 percent operational capacity for outdoor tourist attractions;
- 40 percent operational capacity for indoor dining, which could be increased by 10 percent provided there is a Safety Seal; and
- religious activity at 30 percent operational capacity, which can be increased by the local government unit to as high as 50 percent.
Activities allowed in NCR Plus — which covers Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal — also include non-contact sports, lottery, leisurely travel and outdoor dining at 50 percent operating capacity.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the police to arrest people traveling with fake reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
Duterte issued the order after reports that travelers have been caught with falsified requirements in several parts of the country.
“Kindly check this twice over whether or not you have the genuine certificates. Arrest those presenting fake tests and enforce strict compliance of protocols of local tourism,” Duterte said in his public address Monday night.
The President said he received some reports that some travelers in several locations in the country, many in Boracay, were presenting fake test results to circumvent travel restrictions.
Duterte said he knew the people were already tired of staying in the house but urged them not to travel unless the majority of the population had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Unless and until everybody is really vaccinated, let us not travel,” he said.
“I know that you want to go out, I know that you are itching to travel. But please, if you have some other time to do that, do it at some other time,” the President added.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed leisurely trips as long as travelers test negative for COVID-19 and will comply with government guidelines.
New curfew hours
National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar on Tuesday ordered all district and station commanders to strictly enforce the new curfew hours while Metro Manila and nearby provinces are under the general community quarantine status.
Eleazar said the shortened curfew hours did not mean the police force would be lax on enforcement. He assured that enhanced police visibility would be made from midnight to 4 a.m.
“Shortening curfew hours will allow more people to visit malls, restaurants and other establishments, a move that would help our economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic. But it doesn’t mean we will be relaxed," he said.
Members of the Metro Manila Council have unanimously agreed to adjust the curfew hours from midnight to 4 a.m. effective June 15, from the previous 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
“The local chief executives of Metro Manila based their decision on the recent report of the Department of Health that the NCR is nearing the safe zone in terms of COVID-19 cases,” said Chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr. of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
“The MMC recognizes the imperative to gradually and cautiously open the economy in order to increase the business activity, reduce unemployment and underemployment, and promote economic growth but ever mindful of the paramount interests of life and health and the strict implementation of Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Recover (PDITR) strategies,” the MMC resolution stated.
The MMC, composed of the 17 mayors in the National Capital Region, is the governing board and the policy-making body of the MMDA. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
Returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWS) and other inbound international Filipino travelers who have already been fully vaccinated should be exempted from the mandatory quarantine period, a party-list legislator said on Tuesday.
At the same time, Rep. Ronnie Ong of Ang Probinsyano appealed that inter-zonal travel restrictions should be also lifted for individuals who have completed their anti-COVID jabs.
"A properly authenticated proof of vaccination should suffice to ease quarantine protocols for returning OFWs and other Filipinos returning to the Philippines so that they can spend more time with their families and truly enjoy their stay in the country," Ong said.
Ong added returning OFWs could still be required to undergo RT-PCR swab upon arrival and must fully inform authorities their travel destination.
According to Ong, people who have been vaccinated should no longer pose any public health hazard to the general population and should be given some leeway on existing quarantine protocols for inbound OFWs and returning Filipino travelers.
Aside from easing quarantine requirements, Ong also recommended that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) should also relax restrictions on inter-zonal/cross-border travel for people who have already completed their anti-COVID vaccines.