DTI backs reopening of gyms in Metro Manila, says its essential

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is supporting calls to reopen gyms in Metro Manila, saying that fitness activities are actually essential amid the pandemic.

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"Ang gym sa ngayon pino-propose po natin sa IATF (interagency task force) at pinag-aaralan ngayon ng technical working group (Right now, we are proposing to the IATF the reopening of gyms and it is being studied by the technical working group)," DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said during a televised briefing Monday, Sept. 27.

Lopez said they are heeding to the call of fitness center owners to allow them to operate even at a limited capacity similar to the setup approved for dine-in and personal care services under alert level 4.

"Ang bottomline po dito (The bottomline here), this is essential and it will boost immunity and the virus is here to stay so we should manage how to function in a very safe manner and save more small businesses and jobs at isa pa matagal na po silang sarado (considering they have been closed for a long time)," Lopez stressed.

The secretary, however, said that if the region shifts to alert level 3, gyms will actually be allowed to reopen. But right now, they are appealing for its inclusion under the current alert level to allow the public to exercise indoor to boost their immunity and at the same time give fitness centers the opportunity to get back on track.

"This is I think even safer than dine-in and personal care services kasi nga walang tanggalan ng mask, mas malalayo-- four meters apart--at saka individual activity ito (because they will not remove their masks, they will be four meters apart, and this is an individual activity)," Lopez said.

He further said that like outdoor exercises, indoor fitness activities are also key to boosting one's immunity level. Specific measures will also be set to maintain safety within the gyms.

The department is also encouraging the fitness centers to develop an outdoor activity setup as much as possible.