DTI wants to reopen gyms first, safety seal later; GCQ status would still be gradual reopening

Published June 14, 2021, 3:16 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has proposed for the immediate reopening of indoor gyms and fitness/wellness centers at 20 percent capacity and the Safety Seal Certification requirement may just have to follow after.

At the virtual “Laging Handa” public briefing in Malacanang, Lopez was proposing this to the Inter Agency Task Force (AITF) that will amend last week’s approved policy that indoor gyms are allowed 30 percent operating capacity but these establishments must have the Safety Seal Certification already.

Under the proposed policy, indoor gyms and wellness firms would be allowed to operate at 20 percent capacity and additional 10 percent once they have gotten their safety seal certification for a total of 30 percent operating capacity.

Lopez stressed that the amendment of the policy will ease doing business by avoiding queues at the local government units preventing them from reopening but ensure that establishments can resume operations immediately.

The indoor gyms and wellness sector is considered also considered essential given it is needed for the health and fitness of people. It has also more 2,000 players with over 22,000 workers, Lopez said.

He said that local government units are quick also in granting the certification. He city Mandaluyong, which has already granted over 2,400 safety seal to a mix of retail establishments in their locality.

Registering for the safety seal is done online. Applicants just have to do their self-assessments like requirements for mayor’s permit, registration with StaySafe.ph or LGU-mandated digital contract tracing, and compliance with minimum public health standards, and then request for inspection as the final step.

Lopez said that having the safety seal is seen to boost consumer confidence and business confidence because the establishment has assurance that is compliant with the minimum public health standards.

The DTI chief explained that even if the economy will graduate into a regular general community quarantine status, which is almost like back to normal pre-COVID, the reopening would still be gradual.

He said that it won’t be the same as the previous GCQ status, the next GCQ status would still be gradual although movement is allowed. For indoor activities, he said, this should be treated differently because proper ventilation is crucial for these establishment.