MANILA – A party-list lawmaker on Wednesday thumbed down the decision of Metro Manila mayors to close gyms, spas, and internet cafes in the region until April 4 amid the rising Covid-19 cases.
In a statement, AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said authorities have no factual basis to prove that the wellness business establishments have had coronavirus cases that contributed to the Covid-19 cases surge.
Garbin said arbitrary decisions based on conjecture and mere suspicion against the wellness business are “injustice” to the workers, the entrepreneurs, and their clientele.
“Facts and evidence must back up the decisions against the wellness sector, who have a key role in addressing the mental health and overall well-being of their clientele,” he said.
Metro Manila mayors decided to close down the spas and gyms even though the national government through the Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution No. 104 earlier allowed the operations of these establishments at limited capacity during the general community quarantine bubble until April 4.
Garbin said if the business hours of the wellness shops are at issue, then the solution is to set the hours outside of the curfew hours.
“Yung mga manicurista, parlorista, masahista, therapists, fitness coaches, janitor sa gym, kahera sa parlor, at barberong mawawalan ng kita for 2 weeks, tatanggap ba sila ng ayuda? O bahala na sila sa mga sarili nila? (Those manicurists, hairdressers, masseurs, therapists, fitness coaches, janitors at the gyms, cashiers at parlor, and barbers who would suffer a loss of income for 2 weeks, would they be receiving some subsidies? Or would they just be left to fend for themselves?),” he said.
He stressed that local executives should grant some sort of subsidy or financial assistance to the affected workers.
If necessary and affordable, he said the government should conduct free saliva tests on wellness workers, entrepreneurs, and customers.
Other establishments prohibited in the GCQ bubble are driving schools, traditional cinemas and video and interactive game arcades, libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers, limited social events at accredited tourism establishments and limited tourism attractions except open-air tourism attractions.
All public gatherings including religious gatherings are prohibited while face-to-face meetings are discouraged. However, weddings, baptisms, and funeral services will be limited to 10 persons.
In restaurants, only outdoor dining will be allowed at 50-percent operational capacity provided that engineering and administrative controls are in place like acrylic or small dividers, limiting to two persons per table, among others.
Restaurants, cafes, and similar establishments will be allowed to operate delivery and take-out services only for the duration of GCQ.
Current operational capacities of essential and non-essential services/industries will be maintained subject to minimum health standards.
Public transportation will also retain current capacity while biking and walking will also be encouraged. (PNA)