THE Trade department said it will propose to allow the reopening of review centers and gyms under current quarantine settings.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez will recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the coronavirus that tutorial and review centers, internet cafes, gyms, personal grooming and aesthetic services businesses, pet groomers, and drive-in cinemas be allowed to restart operations during the relaxed lockdown, he said in a radio interview Tuesday.

If approved by the IATF, such establishments may be allowed to operate at 30% capacity.

The department continues to support the reopening of more businesses and at higher capacities as confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases topped 82,000, the second highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has said he considered returning Metro Manila to a stricter form of lockdown, but mayors appealed to retain the relaxed quarantine, promising to employ targeted lockdowns instead.

Mr. Lopez said that he does not support a return to a stricter lockdown.

May kakayahan naman ang ating pamahalaan na gawing localized ‘yung lockdown kung saan may hotspot o kung saan may outbreak o problema. Hindi kailangan isara ‘yung buong city o buong lugar. Kasi ho mamatay na talaga ekonomiya kapag pinagpatuloy ulit (The government can localize lockdowns in hotspots and problem areas. There is no need to lock down the entire city. That will kill the economy),” he said.

He added that the department continues to monitor establishments for compliance with safety guidelines, and is authorized to temporarily close non-compliant shops.

Under current rules, barbershops, salons, and dine-in operations at restaurants may operate up to 50% capacity in areas under general community quarantine, and up to 75% capacity in areas under modified general community quarantine.

In June, a survey found that a quarter of businesses remained permanently or temporarily shut despite easing lockdowns, according to a DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) report.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry on July 22 said 50% of its members in Luzon and Mindanao have closed down. The Philippines’ largest business organization said continued lockdowns put firms at risk of permanent closure. — Jenina P. Ibañez