Concepcion urges govt to allow limited gym operations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18) — Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion is hopeful the government can give its go signal for the reopening of gyms in Metro Manila.

In a virtual briefing on Saturday, Concepcion said they have proposed to allow gym operations as the capital is on track to make 80% of its target population fully vaccinated by mid-October.

This, as the government has started testing the COVID-19 alert level system in the National Capital Region, allowing other business establishments to resume limited operations.

READ: EXPLAINER: What you need to know about the COVID-19 alert level system in NCR

Concepcion said the government can impose a 10% limited capacity at gyms, exclusive for fully vaccinated individuals.

On Friday, a group said the government's refusal to keep gyms from operating even for only fully vaccinated individuals is pushing the industry to the brink of death.

Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit, Gold's Gym Philippines president and CEO—representing the Philippine Fitness Alliance—said they expected that the government would implement a "vaccine bubble" and subsequently greenlight the operations of gyms in NCR.

"When we talked to our headquarters in the US for Gold's Gym, we are definitely the worst because we have been closed the longest," she told CNN Philippines' The Exchange.

"We are already going on the 20th month of the quarantine next month and out of which, we are only open for five whole months, so we are really dying here," Dayrit added.

Dayrit also said gym operators are willing to impose two- to three-meter physical distancing—just like what is being practiced in the US and Singapore.

Wearing of face masks will also be strictly implemented, she added.

"We hope that we could start being adaptive and start opening up, even 5% to 10% and continue to operate because what if COVID will not go away?" Dayrit said.

The group earlier said the claim that gyms can trigger a faster spread of the virus has been "debunked by our experience and those of our peers abroad."

"The gyms we represent had more than 600,000 member check-ins in the months we were open, and to date, we had zero club transmissions of the virus!" it said, referring to brands such as Anytime Fitness, Celebrity Fitness, Fitness First, Gold's Gym, Slimmers World, and UFC Gym.

Meanwhile, Concepcion was also bullish that the capacity for restaurants and salons will be increased as more Filipinos secure their coronavirus shots.

"Hopefully, as we move forward this will go up to 30% and eventually 50% moving higher for the vaccinated," Concepcion said.