Only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed to play or watch contact sports in Metro Manila.
This was the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) on Saturday to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for the conduct of contact sports in the metropolis amid the declining cases of COVID-19 in the country.
MMC chairman and concurrent Metropolitan Manila Development Authority head Benjamin Abalos Jr. said there is a need to recommend to the IATF the unified and official stand of mayors in the National Capital Region on the conduct of contact sports, subject to the IATF's evaluation and consideration.
"A technical working group, headed by Department of Health-NCR Regional Director Dr. Gloria Balboa, was created to study the possible conduct of contact sports. It underwent a very tedious process," said Abalos.
“Since players are susceptible to physical proximity with one another while spectators are inclined to cheer or chant in a crowd, having them fully vaccinated will reduce risk of transmission,” he added.
In other developments:
• The Philippines on Saturday recorded 1,997 more COVID-19 infections, the third straight day the daily tally fell below the 2,000-mark, DOH data showed.
• The probability of the NCR deescalating to Alert Level 1 will be based on the metrics, as the government continues to ramp up efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOH said Saturday.
• Authorities have reached an agreement on the much-debated requirement for face shield use in public places, which has already been submitted for the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte, the health department said Saturday.
• The DOH assured parents that safeguards would be in place should the
Department of Education (DepEd) identify schools in Metro Manila for the pilot testing of face-to-face classes.
The MMC, composed of the 17 mayors in NCR, is the governing board and the policy-making body of the MMDA.
Based on MMDA Resolution No. 21-28, all 17 mayors of Metro Manila areunanimous in recommending the following policy guidelines:
1. Emphasis is laid on the venue capacity limitations, vaccination status, observance of minimum public health standards, and contact tracing;
2. Considering that, in the conduct of a contact sport, the players are prone or susceptible to physical proximity with one another while the spectators are inclined or given to cheer, jeer, shout, chant, or sing collectively or in a crowd, only fully-vaccinated adults and minors shall be allowed to play or watch in an Organized or Unorganized Event. This is to “incentivize” persons to get vaccinated.
However, players or spectators who are symptomatic shall not be allowed to play or watch the event.
Further, the Local Government Unit shall have the prerogative to allow or disallow spectators in any contact sport event as the circumstances may require;
3. The players shall have the option not to wear face masks while playing. However, when not playing, the players must wear face masks and observe social distancing. On the other hand, spectators and all other persons shall wear face masks and observe social distancing at all times;
4. In an organized event, for both public and private and indoor and outdoor venues, the organizer and/or venue owner or operator thereof shall apply for the necessary permit from the concerned LGU and declare the nature of the event, number of participants, and duration, and further ensure and undertake that venue capacity limitations, vaccination requirements, and minimum public health standards are strictly enforced.
Moreover, the organizer and/or venue owner or operator shall have a written registry and health declaration of participants, spectators, and all other persons in the event, stating their names, addresses, and contact numbers and conduct temperature check and verification of vaccination cards.
The Local Government Unit shall supervise and ensure compliance of the organizer and/or venue owner or operator with its/their declarations and undertakings;
5. In an unorganized event, for both public and private and indoor and outdoor venues, the concerned barangay officials and/or venue owner or operator thereof shall supervise and ensure observance of venue capacity limitations, vaccination requirements, and minimum public health standards.
Citing the IATF’s Guidelines on the Implementation of Alert Levels System for COVID-19 Response in Pilot Areas, indoor facilities should only be filled up to 50 percent, while outdoor areas at 70 percent of its capacity and will only cater to fully vaccinated adults.
“With these guidelines we are recommending to the IATF, we can help the contact sports industry to get back in the game and give motivation to the public, especially the sports enthusiasts, to get fully vaccinated. However, we have to wait for the IATF’s approval on this matter,” Abalos said.