Cinemas, parks, arcades can reopen; church capacity limit also eased
The government is allowing cinemas, game arcades, theme parks, natural parks and historical landmarks to reopen beginning Monday, nearly a year since they were shuttered due to the pandemic.
The further relaxation of restrictions is “in line with the reality that we have to further reopen the economy because the people need to have more sources of livelihood,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at the Laging Handa briefing on Friday.
“Many of the workers in the reopened industries have been out of a job for so long. Now they can work again,” Roque said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) also permitted religious venues to accommodate up to 50 percent of their capacity, up from the previous limit of 30 percent.
Driving schools, libraries, museums and cultural centers may now also reopen, the IATF said.
Also allowed are meetings, conferences and limited social events in establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism.
But Roque said these “businesses [and] industries shall [still] comply with the strict observance of minimum public health standards set by the Department of Health (DOH).”
Citing the need to revive commercial activity, the government’s economic managers have called for the reopening of more businesses should the latest numbers of COVID-19 cases remain at manageable levels.
As for the holding of amateur sports events, Roque said two conditions need to be met: the DOH must issue guidelines for these activities, and they should have the permission of the local government concerned.
Roque said a basketball league and a volleyball tournament had sought permission to hold their athletes’ training at a designated “bubble” in Subic.
The IATF has begun discussions on the matter, but Roque said it should also be decided by either the Zambales provincial government or the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
The local government and the SBMA should also commit themselves to enforcing health and safety regulations, he said.
“So there is a high chance that their games would be allowed,” Roque said.
More than 2K new cases
The IATF earlier gave its go signal for national athletes to train in a bubble-type environment, especially those preparing for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled this year after it was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The DOH on Friday logged 2,022 new coronavirus cases, bringing the nationwide case count to 545,300.
In its daily case bulletin, the department said active cases now stand at 33,151, of which 86.9 percent were considered mild, 7.8 percent were asymptomatic, 2.4 percent were critical, 2.3 percent were severe and 0.63 were moderate infections.
Meanwhile, 333 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 500,654. There were 26 additional fatalities, which brought the death toll to 11,495.
The DOH said it removed four duplicates, including three recoveries, from the total case count.
Eleven cases that were previously listed as recoveries have been reclassified as deaths, after final validation.
Four laboratories failed to submit their results on time, the DOH said. —WITH A REPORT FROM PATRICIA DENISE M. CHIU
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