Gyms, tutorial centers and businesses offering grooming services outside salons and barbershops are now allowed to resume operations starting Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez made the announcement during the Laging Handa briefing with public officials.
These services were previously suspended when Metro Manila eased from modified enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine (GCQ) two weeks ago.
“By tomorrow, yung na-defer po natin na sector na hindi natin nabuksan dahil nag-GCQ tayo, ‘yung ibang sektor kagaya ng personal grooming services, tutorial and review centers, ang mga gyms itutuloy na sa pagbukas starting tomorrow, Sept. 1.”
[Translation: By tomorrow, some sectors which were deferred and were not allowed to open under GCQ, such as personal grooming services, tutorial and review centers, and gyms, may resume their operations starting tomorrow, Sept. 1.]
Lopez did not mention whether internet cafes and drive-in cinemas, which were included in the earlier suspension, may now resume operations. Dine-in restaurants have already been allowed to open, with their maximum capacity determined by local government units.
Lopez said the Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases is in close coordination with Metro Manila mayors to ensure smooth operations during the transition to a more open economy under the “new normal.”
“Sa sector na bubuksan bukas, may kanya-kanyang health protocol na mas angkop sa sector na iyon,” he added.
[Translation: The sectors which will be opened tomorrow will conduct their own health protocol appropriate for them.]
Lopez said the IATF members are currently meeting before they give the other finalized recommendations to President Rodrigo Duterte.
The IATF is also considering extending the period of the general community quarantine from more than 14 days to a month, Lopez said.
Face shields not a guarantee?
Meanwhile, as more non-essential establishments re-open, an infectious disease expert believes that wearing face shields in public will not guarantee total protection from the virus.
“I only believe that the face shield is very important inside the hospital setting. But outside the hospital setting, I personally do not feel that a face shield is as important as a mask,” said Dr. Benjamin Co in an interview with CNN Philippines.
He noted that some people find face shields “bothersome” and inadvertently touch their face.
“Although some studies showed that an additional layer of protection is makakabuti, kaya lang minsan rin, it’s bothersome, to the point that you keep touching it. Posible talaga na magkaroon ka ng cross-infection,” Co added.
[Translation: Although some studies showed that an additional layer of protection is better, but sometimes it’s bothersome, to the point that you keep touching it. So cross-infection is still possible.]
Duterte is set to decide on Monday evening on the latest quarantine classifications of Metro Manila and other areas in his public address in Malacañang.