Barbershops, gyms, restaurants to be reopened in modified GCQ areas, says Secretary Lopez

Areas in the Philippines which will be downgraded to the modified general community quarantine (GCQ) will witness the reopening of businesses such as salons, gyms, and barbershops, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said today in an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced last night that Metro Manila, Region II, Region III, Region 4-A, Pangasinan, Albay, and Davao City will be under the general community quarantine next month. All the other areas in the Philippines, except Cebu City, will be under the modified GCQ starting from June 1. Meanwhile, the modified enhanced community quarantine will be implemented in the Queen City of the South.

Read: Metro Manila put under general community quarantine despite spike of COVID-19 cases

“These barbershops, salons, even dine-in [restaurants] are allowed to reopen in the next phase, the modified GCQ, that’s the most liberal [quarantine]. And many provinces are already under modified [GCQ],” Lopez said in English and Filipino.

“In GCQ, they are not allowed but we are finding ways if we are able to strengthen the protocol that they can institute to limit the transmission [of the coronavirus]. That’s the problem with this sector, we have to address the risk of transmission, we have to address these concerns so that we can reconsider reopening them earlier even under GCQ,” the secretary added.

These companies belong to what the Duterte administration calls “Category 4,” enterprises where customers are in close contact with each other. Other than those which have been mentioned, they also include theaters, bars, tourist destinations, museums, and libraries.

Read: Quarantine passes no longer required during general community quarantine, says top cop

While such businesses are allowed to re-open in a modified GCQ, they can only accept half of their usual clients in their establishments.

“All areas under modified [GCQ] can start to operate these businesses at 50 percent operating capacity,” Lopez said.

Churches, mosques, and other religious venues are allowed to reopen in a modified GCQ but only at half of their usual capacity. In a GCQ, only 10 people will be allowed to enter such places. However, Lopez said the government is still discussing whether more people should be allowed to participate in religious activities during the GCQ.

While quarantines will be eased in several areas, Lopez reminded people that they can only go out of their homes to go to work or purchase necessities.

“As a general guideline, the movement of people would still be for an essential purpose,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the police head of the Joint Task Force COVID-19, earlier announced that residents of areas under GCQ can leave their homes even without a quarantine pass. In a separate interview today, Eleazar said that despite the loosening of restrictions, residents living in GCQ areas in Metro Manila cannot travel to another city to visit their loved ones. Only those traveling for work in approved industries will be allowed to cross borders.



This article, Barbershops, gyms, restaurants to be reopened in modified GCQ areas, says Secretary Lopez, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!