The government has decided to temporarily prohibit the operations of gyms in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) with restrictions until mid-June to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque explained that scientific data showed that indoor fitness studios are among the places that could potentially trigger “superspreader” events.
“Indoor sports courts, venues and indoor tourist attractions at kasama po diyan ang mga gyms, hindi pa rin po allowed hanggang June 15. Sa ordinaryong GCQ allowed po sila, pero sa ngayon po sa karagdagang restrictions, hindi pa po allowed ang mga gyms (Indoor sports courts, venues and indoor tourist attractions that include gyms are not allowed until June 15. In the ordinary GCQ, they are allowed but those with restrictions, gyms are not yet allowed),” he said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, June 1.
“There’s a science behind it na talagang susceptible talaga (that it’s really susceptible) for super spreader events ang mga gyms because of the nature of activity that goes in there. It’s indoors, it involves sweating and it involves close contact,” he added.
President Duterte has kept Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, collectively known as National Capital Region Plus, under GCQ until June 15. The government however imposed “restrictions” limiting the capacity of some industries in the NCR Plus to curb the virus spread.
Apart from gyms, Roque said amusement centers and internet cares will stay closed in GCQ areas with restrictions due to risk of virus spread. He admitted that physical distancing would be difficult to enforce in these spaces.
“The DOH (Department of Health) is guided by science on specific industries which must remain closed for the time being,” he said.
Roque assured the public that the closure of gyms and other establishments would just temporary, adding that restrictions could be eased once the coronavirus situation improves.
“For now po, pinabababa lang po natin ang mga kaso and later on gaya noong nangyari naman noong nag-GCQ ang Metro Manila na binuksan natin ang mga gyms, limited capacity, ay mangyayari din naman po iyon (For now, we’re trying to lower the cases and later on, like when Metro Manila was placed on GCQ, we reopened gyms at limited capacity, that will also happen),” he said.
“Pero sa ngayon po, iniiwasan lang natin na masayang iyong (But for now, we want to avoid wasting the) gains that we have achieved because of the very long ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) and MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) that we’ve had,” he added.
After weeks of strict lockdown, NCR Plus has eased to GCQ with heightened restrictions since May 15.
These places were placed on the most restricted ECQ from March 29 to April 11 following the alarming rise in coronavirus infections. They shifted to less restrictive MECQ from April 12 until May 14.
As of June 1, the country has recorded 53,203 active cases, which pushed the total number to 1,161,252. The country’s death toll has reached 21,012.