GAB seeks clarification on gym closure

Baham Mitra GAB chairman
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra said Friday that he asked for clarification from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Emerging Infectious Diseases with regards to the government’s order to close gyms even if Metro Manila is now under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

In the letter dated August 18, 2020, Mitra asked if this order covers “basketball, tennis and other similar sports” considering that these activities are allowed on GCQ under the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“In this regard, GAB respectfully seeks for a clarification whether or not the basketball, tennis and other similar sports are covered by the ban,” said Mitra in the letter.

The letter was addressed to IATF chairperson Francisco Duque III, Cabinet Secretary and IATF co-chairperson Alex Nograles, Department of Environment and Natural Resources co-chairman Roy Cimatu, and Chief Implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19 Carlito Galvez Jr.

In the same letter, Mitra pointed to the JAO guideline No. 2020-0001 that he – as GAB chief – signed last month with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez and Health secretary Francisco Duque III that allows the return to practice session of professional athletes.

The said guideline allows the health-enhancing physical activities by professional athletes up to maximum of five players per sport/activity with skeleton workforce but total number of individuals shall not exceed 10 and should be under approval of the GAB in accordance to strict health protocols and guidelines on the conduct of sports.

Under the classifications of GAB, allowed to return as identified pro sports are athletes from the Philippine Basketball Association, the Philippine Football League and pro boxers.

READ: GAB’s Mitra: Balancing health concern with excitement at sports’ return

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said the target return of practice session of the 12 teams is on August 25.

READ: 14-day quarantine for players, coaches who will test positive for COVID-19, says Commissioner Marcial

Last Tuesday, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said gyms, as well as Internet shops, are not yet allowed to reopen in areas under GCQ between the periods of Aug. 19 to 31.

Mitra said it is better to be certain before they give the teams the green light for practice sessions.

“As always, we would like to be cautious with the resumption,” said Mitra in a message to Manila Bulletin.

“We don’t want any problems and just want to make sure as there was an announcement from Sec. Roque that gyms would not be allowed to operate despite lowering of the quarantine levels,” added Mitra.

READ: GAB ‘hotlines’ in the works to improve monitoring