GAB working to bring back fans in venues
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) is optimistic that professional sports in the country may soon welcome back its patrons and spectators amidst the continuing downtrend COVID-19.
In the monthly press conference of GAB, chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra said they are now working with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to formulate the blueprint in creating protocols for a safe way for spectators to watch their favorite sport.
“Right now it’s all about resuming to play with audience. They allow people to watch movies, so that’s like the template right now in sports because venues are still closed. Open air naman yung ibang sports, yung football fields open air while yung movie houses sarado,” Mitra explained.
“The DOH and GAB are working hard to come up with a framework to have sports with audience. We’re all excited about this because the fans in other countries are allowed to watch as you can see in the NBA and the Premier League, andun na lahat ng tao, marami pang walang mask.”
Currently, the Philippines has 43.9 million fully vaccinated individuals and a total of 78.5 million doses given.
Mitra added that it is time to find a way to welcome back Filipino sports fans to the arenas and playing venues citing that there are proper health and safety protocols implemented entirely.
“As long as walang sigawan, basta may safety protocols. We understand that outside from television commercials, income generating din yung nagbabayad ng tickets sa venue para maka panood ng sports. It’s not just the revenue, it’s also the spirit of the competition,” added Mitra.
A MATTER OF TIME
One of the sports personalities who is very hopeful with GAB’s plan is Premier Volleyball League president Ricky Palou, who was present during the presser.
“We hope that the IATF will allow us to have a few spectators to enjoy the sport,” said Palou who revealed that they will be having two conferences lined-up for 2022.
Mitra said that it’s only a matter of time to open the doors of pro sports to spectators.
“I guess this is a matter of time, we would like to assure everybody we’re working on it. DOH are already studying to determine how many people can be accommodated sa venue. We’re also knocking on the doors of IATF,” added Mitra.
On the pro athletes’ side, Mitra said that they won’t force them to get vaccinated, but rather encourage them to get the doses.
However, they reminded the athletes that they will undergo frequent testing prior to their games or matches if they won’t get vaccinated which is very inconvenient.
“Pag ka hindi ka pa vaccinated madalas ang testing sa yo. I guess that’s one way of encouraging them to get vaccinated,” said Mitra.
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