Gyms, internet cafes still closed in areas under GCQ -- Palace

Gyms and internet shops are not yet allowed to reopen in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang announced Tuesday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the initial rules allowing the partial operations of these business establishments have been deferred during a meeting of the Cabinet early this month.  The decision was reached prior to the shift of Metro Manila and five nearby provinces to modified enhanced community quarantine.

"There was a special Cabinet meeting a day before MECQ was imposed. It was suspended in that meeting," Roque said about the operations of gyms and internet shops in GCQ areas.

He said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea called for Cabinet meeting before they met President Duterte on the appeal of the medical community for a two-week timeout. 

"On gyms, it was deferred in the Cabinet meeting called by ES preparatory to our meeting with PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) where it was decided to give in to demand of frontliners. Included too were internet cafes," he said. "This meeting superseded the IATF (resolution) approving (the reopening of) gyms and internet cafes," he added.

Roque said the national task force is now clarifying the matter with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Last July 28, the IATF initially allowed the limited reopening of gyms, internet shops, tutorial and review centers, and drive-in cinemas in GCQ areas effective last August 1. These establishments were supposed to be allowed to initially operate up to 30 percent capacity and abide by health protocols.

A few days later, the medical community called for stricter lockdown in Metro Manila to ease the burden on the healthcare system amid surging cases of infections. Acting on the appeal of the health frontliners, the President eventually moved Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal from GCQ to more restrictive MECQ until August 18.

On Monday, these five places have reverted to GCQ until the end of the month.

Other GCQ areas are Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, Municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province.