DTI bats for reopening of gyms even without safety seal

Published June 14, 2021, 2:27 PM

by Betheena Unite

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez says he will seek approval for the reopening of gyms–albeit on a limited capacity–prior to the establishments’ securing of a safety seal.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Lopez said during a televised briefing Monday, June 14 that the DTI will propose to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) the opening of gyms on a 20 percent capacity and at the same time allow them to apply for their safety seal later for an additional 10 percent on capacity credits.

“So specifically, the gym can be opened [at] 20 percent before the safety seal and inspection, and an additional 10 percent [can be granted] when they secure the safety seal,” the secretary said.

An earlier approved policy on the reopening of gyms amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic said that gyms are only allowed to operate at under 30 percent capacity once they secure a safety seal. This was approved by the IATF only last Thursday, June 10.

The DTI chief said gym owners have since appealed to allow them to open their establishments even without the safety seal. They cited that the same policy was being enforced on other industries, where the application for safety seal was only voluntary.

Lopez said the proposed policy would at least allow gyms to operate under a limited capacity while they wait for their safety seal and inspection, which usually takes a couple of weeks.

“This is to also avoid bureaucracy…This is also to avoid [keeping gyms closed] as they wait for the inspection and safety seal,” he pointed out.

The proposal will be discussed during the IATF meeting on Monday afternoon.

The government’s safety seal certification program is used to affirm whether or not an establishment has been compliant with health protocols against the COVID-19. Businesses show off their safety seal to customers to prove that it is safe to be in that establishment.