IATF OKs partial reopening of gyms, historical sites in NCR Plus

IATF OKs partial reopening of gyms, historical sites in NCR Plus

MANILA – People residing in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus can now visit gyms and historical sites, Malacañang said on Friday.

This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved Thursday the partial reopening of gyms and other indoor non-contact sports, as well as the historical sites and museums, in NCR Plus.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said indoor non-contact sports can operations at “30 percent” of the venue capacity.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force on Thursday, June 10, 2021, allowed the opening of indoor non-contact sports venues with Safety Seal Certifications such as gyms, fitness studios, skating rinks, and racket sports courts in the National Capital Region Plus areas at 30 percent venue capacity,” Roque said in a press statement.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, otherwise known as NCR Plus, is currently under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with restrictions.”

The IATF-EID initially decided to order the temporary closure of gyms in NCR Plus until mid-June to avoid any “super spreader” event that might lead to another spike in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.

Roque said the IATF-EID also allowed historical sites and museums in NCR Plus to operate up to 20 percent of the venue capacity.

He, however, said their opening is still subject to the local government units’ approval.

“Also allowed to open are historical sites and museums in the NCR Plus areas at 20 percent venue capacity following health and safety protocols and the approval of the local government unit where these sites may be situated,” he said.

Guided tours in historical sites and museums remain prohibited, Roque said.

Add’l paras to story: IATF OKs partial reopening of gyms, historical sites in NCR Plus

The Department of Tourism (DOT) also confirmed Roque’s announcement.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the measure was approved by the IATF-EID through Resolution No. 120 signed on Thursday.

“Our historical sites and museums in the NCR Plus Area may welcome visitors following the easing of quarantine restrictions. This is part of our efforts to restart tourism and leisure activities in a safe and steady manner, and to help bring back employment,” Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

“Visitors are still urged to follow the minimum health and safety standards set for historical sites and museums to prevent a possible Covid-19 outbreak,” she added.

Romulo-Puyat said the IATF decision is “very timely” as it coincides with the observance of Independence Day.

“The historical sites and museums remind us of our rich culture and history and of the heroism of those who fought for our freedom. Revisiting our past brings us closer together as a people and draws us closer to a future free of the perils and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic,” she said.

Last month, the government’s pandemic task force allowed the operation of outdoor tourist attractions, also in a limited capacity.

On Thursday, Roque floated the possibility that NCR Plus might be placed under “ordinary” GCQ since the healthcare utilization rate in Metro Manila is “looking good” and “remains very low.”

Only 53 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, 39 percent of isolation beds, 37 percent of ward beds, and 35 percent of ventilators have been utilized in Metro Manila, as of June 9.

The declaration of quarantine classification in the country depends on the Covid-19 daily attack rate, two-week average attack rate, and healthcare utilization rate. (PNA)

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