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Deciphering the minimum health standards for business establishments

/ 08:02 PM December 17, 2021

(Last of two parts)

Under the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) Resolution No. 143-A, outdoor tourist attractions, as defined by the Department of Tourism (DOT), shall be allowed at 30 percent venue capacity with strict adherence to minimum public health standards. Specialized markets of the DOT, such as those for “staycations,” shall be allowed at such operating capacities and protocols as the latter may require.

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Meanwhile, in its Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-41, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) prohibits business establishments catering to indoor contact sports activities from operating if they were located in areas placed by the IATF under Alert Levels 4 and 5.

Establishments located in areas placed under Alert Level 3 are likewise prohibited from operating, unless their activities shall be conducted under a bubble-type setup, as defined by the IATF, Games and Regulatory Board, and Philippine Sports Commission, and subsequently approved by the concerned local government unit (LGU) as to where they would be held.

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Those located in areas placed under Alert Level 2 may be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, subject to: (a) the concerned LGU’s discretion on where these games would be held; and (b) the participation of fully vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated individuals below the age of 18 years, and fully vaccinated employees. The same establishments located in areas placed under Alert Level 1 are allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity.

The same rules apply for business establishments providing for outdoor contact sports activities, which are located in areas placed under Alert Levels 1, 3, 4 and 5. Meanwhile, those establishments in areas placed under Alert Level 2 are allowed to operate at 70 percent capacity, as may be approved by the relevant LGU on where these activities would be held, and provided that their employees are fully vaccinated.

Fitness studios, gyms and venues for indoor non-contact exercises and sports activities are prohibited from operating if they were located in areas placed under Alert Level 5. Those located in areas classified as Alert Level 4 are allowed to operate at 10 percent capacity, provided that: (a) they only cater to fully vaccinated individuals; (b) group activities shall not be conducted; (c) clients and employees are required to wear their face masks at all times in the premises; and (d) their employees are fully vaccinated.

The same conditions for those under Alert Level 4 apply to those establishments located in areas placed under Alert Level 3 before they could operate at 30 percent capacity. These establishments, which are located in areas placed under Alert Level 2, may operate at 50 percent capacity, provided that: (a) they cater to fully vaccinated individuals or unvaccinated individuals below the age of 18 years; (b) clients and employees are required to wear their face masks at all times in the premises; and (c) their employees are fully vaccinated. Establishments located in areas placed under Alert Level 1 are allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity.

Fitness studios, gyms and venues for outdoor non-contact exercises and sports activities are likewise not allowed to operate in areas placed under Alert Level 5.

Meanwhile, those located in areas placed under Alert Levels 3 and 4 may operate at 50 percent and 30 percent capacity, respectively, provided that: (a) their clients and employees wear face masks at all times within the premises; and (b) group activities shall not be conducted; and (c) their employees are fully vaccinated. The same establishments located in areas placed under Alert Level 2 may operate at 70 percent capacity, for as long as their clients and employees wear their face masks at all times, and their employees are fully vaccinated. Establishments located in areas placed under Alert Level 1 are allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity.

Whether offering indoor or outdoor activities, fitness studios and gyms are required to comply with engineering controls as mandated by the DTI in MC No. 21-41, including, among others, proper ventilation and installation of hand hygiene and sanitation facilities and supplies, screening areas, and physical barriers between clients and employees.

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