WITH the downgrade of Metro Manila from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3, which will take effect on October 16, many NCR residents will get to once again go to places (cinemas, movie theaters, billiard halls) that have remained closed since the pandemic locked down the world a year and a half ago.
But one treasured Filipino pastime, however, still remains off-limits: basketball pickup games.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made this clear during a press briefing this week.
“Noong binasa ko po kanina [ang guidelines], pupuwede lang [ang basketball] kung bubble-type at saka mayroong relevant guidelines adopted by the IATF, the Games Amusement Board (GAB) at iba pa, iyong approved ng LGU,” said Roque in response to a reporter’s question.
Alert Level guidelines answer question: Is basketball allowed in Metro Manila?
Alert Level 3 is the middle tier of the five-level Alert Level System (ALS), which replaced the alphabet soup of community quarantines that prevailed during most of the pandemic.
In the officially released ALS guidelines (as of October 13, 2021), contact sports are prohibited at Alert Level 5 (which corresponds to enhanced community quarantine), Alert Level 4, and Alert Level 3.
As Roque mentioned, however, contact sports conducted under “a bubble-type setup as provided for under relevant guidelines adopted by the IATF, Games and Amusement Board, and Philippine Sports Commission, and approved by the LGU” will be allowed at Alert Level 3.
Perhaps reprieve for people itching to play hoops again can be found at Alert Level 2, which states under Section 5.2.o that “contact sports approved by the LGU where such games shall be held” will be allowed.
However, the LGU must still clear the games, and restrictions on venue capacity for fully vaccinated people will still apply.
At the moment, the PBA Philippine Cup is marching steadily towards the finals inside a bubble in Bacolor, Pampanga. Sources told Spin.ph yesterday that the league had planned to return the final series to Manila during the downgrade back to Level 3, but were informed that this was against IATF policy.
However, under Alert Level 3, establishments like libraries, archives, museums, internet cafes, amusement parks, swimming pools, billiard halls, and movie houses — which have not opened in Manila since the global lockdowns last March — will finally be able to reopen, with a maximum of 30 percent indoor venue capacity (for fully vaccinated individuals) and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity.
In addition, limited face-to-face classes will also be allowed in the higher education and the technical education levels.
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