IATF eyes reopening of massage parlors, cinemas, arcades–DTI


The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is considering the reopening of other personal care services, such as massage parlors, under the Alert Level 4 amid the extension of the pilot testing of the new community quarantine measure in Metro Manila, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Thursday.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, in addition, said the IATF is also studying the reopening of cinemas and arcades during Alert 3.

He said the committee is considering if there is a need for these sectors to secure a Safety Seal certification first and limit their indoor capacity for the vaccinated population. A Safety Seal is voluntary certification proving that an establishment is adhering to the minimum health protocols amid the pandemic.

The DTI chief said they have been promoting for the “continuity” of business operations even at different operating capacities, especially for the micro, small and medium enterprises. “It will help in job generating,” he said.

The trade official’s pronouncements came after the release of new protocols easing restrictions under Alert 4 in the capital region. Pilot testing was extended until October 15.

Outdoor dine-in and personal care services—including barbershops, hair spas, nail spas and beauty sales—are now allowed 30 percent capacity. For indoor capacity, operations are capped at 20 percent for fully vaccinated individuals only.

Gyms and fitness studios, meanwhile, are given 20 percent operational capacity for non-contact exercises and fully vaccinated customers. Previously, Lopez stressed the need to reopen gyms as exercises are vital to build better immune system amid the pandemic.

These establishments may also have additional 10 percent capacity if they secure Safety Seal.

“For these activities, we are very happy where it is,” he said. “For Alert Level 4, I think this is good enough. Ang pinag-aaralan po natin ngayon ay other activities [We are studying now the reopening of other activities].”

Meanwhile, cinemas and arcades are not allowed under Alert 3 to 5. They are permitted at 50 percent and full capacity under Alerts 1 and 2, respectively.

As for the implementation of the Alert Level System in the provinces, Lopez said that the decision on the matter “will be sooner.” He said the IATF has yet to fully assess the pilot testing of the community quarantine measure.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria A. Concepcion recently called for more transparency in terms of determining the alert levels under the new community quarantine regime. He explained this would help the businesses to prepare for their operations.

“We have to agree on certain parameters to determine the alert levels that is easier to understand,” Concepcion said. “Our goal is to do the reopening safely and limit the mobility of the unvaccinated to protect them from risks.”

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