Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

MANILA – As some parts of the country will ease the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) after April 30, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has identified sectors that will remain closed under general community quarantine (GCQ).

During the Online Talakayan of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Local Government Academy (LGA) Tuesday, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said gyms, fitness studios, and sports facilities will not be allowed during GCQ.

Lopez cited that the government will still prohibit entertainment-related mass gatherings, including but not limited to theaters, cinemas, large concerts, festivals, carnivals, conventions, shows, pubs, and bars as well as business-related mass gatherings such as trade shows, conferences, conventions, workshops, and retreats.

Establishments with gambling and betting activities shall remain closed even after the ECQ will be lifted in some areas in the country at the end of the month.

Services catering to the tourism sector including travel agencies, tour operators, reservation services, and related services will still not be allowed to operate, Lopez said.

The DTI chief clarified that hotels are allowed to operate but not for tourism purposes.

“Also hotels [are] allowed but for the special purpose of providing accommodations for workers [of] BPOs (business process outsourcing), exporters, banks, etc. At any rate, [we] expected that travel tourism will still be very weak,” he told reporters in a Viber message.

Moreover, libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural activities are still closed during the GCQ.

The government also identified mass gathering events that will remain prohibited during GCQ, which include politically-related mass gatherings like election rallies, polling centers, parades, speeches, and addresses.

Sports-related mass gatherings such as training, games, tournaments, and championships will not yet resume even after the ECQ will be lifted.

Activities of member organizations are still not allowed in areas under GCQ.

Meanwhile, as the government eases the quarantine measures in some areas, Lopez said manufacturing activities that were closed during ECQ can return to their operation starting May 1.

However, firms shall implement minimum health standards like physical distancing in the work area, wearing face masks, and providing alcohol and sanitizers.

Malls will be allowed to open except for non-leisure stores, Lopez said.

Services such as barbershops, salons, spas, and other personal care industries can resume their operation but must maintain strict health standards.

Other sectors that were forced to close during ECQ but will be allowed to operate under GCQ include wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, forestry and logging, publishing activities, motion picture, video and television program production, sound recording and music publishing activities, and advertising and market research.

The government also eyes to resume construction activities, particularly for its ‘Build, Build, Build’ program.

In the same virtual briefing, acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Karl Kendrick Chua said the Inter-Agency Task Force will give special analysis on the reopening of the construction sector and malls.

One of the key points that Chua cited is the risk of virus transmission once activities in the construction sector resume as most of the workers are migrants.

But he said it is an opportune time to roll out these projects to speed up the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. (PNA)

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