DTI allows full body massages, approves 75% operating capacity for more businesses in GCQ areas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 3) — Filipinos now have more options for rest and relaxation as full body massages are again allowed in the country.

New rules released by the Department of Trade and Industry now allow full body massage services to be offered beginning November 1 in areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ, marking the further easing of restrictions on businesses as the country goes into its eighth month of the local COVID-19 outbreak.

Memorandum Circular No. 20-57 issued by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez prescribes that massage parlors should operate at 30% capacity in GCQ areas and at 50% for MGCQ areas. This means that these establishments can only fill about one-third and one-half of their pre-pandemic bed capacity at a time.

Full body massages should also follow minimum public health standards, the DTI rules stated. This pertains to the wearing of masks and proper handwashing.

Authorities earlier held off on body massages amid concern that this could expose clients and masseurs to infections. The government has since relaxed restrictions across industries to revive the economy.

Meanwhile, all other personal care and aesthetic services can operate at 75% capacity in GCQ areas. Full restoration of services is allowed in MGCQ areas, but should comply with the standard health protocols.

The same DTI order also raises the capacity for Category III businesses to 75% capacity for GCQ areas and full capacity in MGCQ areas:

- Travel agencies, tour operators, reservation service and related activities

- Gyms and fitness studios

- Sports facilities catering to individual and non-contact activities such as golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian, range shooting, skateboarding

- Testing and tutorial centers: maximum 30% capacity inside the testing room with proper social distancing

- Review centers: only for license applicants for health-related professions

- Internet cafes: limited to work or educational purposes with proper social distancing, and subject to rules set by local government units

- Drive-in cinemas

- Pet grooming services

Metro Manila, Batangas province, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Iligan City, and Lanao del Sur are under GCQ until November 30, while the rest of the country is under the less strict MGCQ.

Meanwhile, cinemas, libraries, museums, tourist spots, tattoo and piercing services, live events, as well as language, driving and other special skills schools are allowed to operate at 50% capacity in most parts of the country under MGCQ.

Nightclubs, kid playrooms and amusement establishments remain closed as the Philippines struggles to fully flatten the COVID-19 curve, with new cases hovering at the 2,000 level per day.