Businesses support easing restrictions as COVID-19 cases decline: presidential adviser

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2021 04:37 PM

People check out a restaurant at a mall in McKinley Hill in Taguig City on October 16, 2021 as Metro Manila is downgraded to Alert Level 3 in the government's quarantine classification for COVID-19. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
People check out a restaurant at a mall in McKinley Hill in Taguig City on October 16, 2021 as Metro Manila is downgraded to Alert Level 3 in the government's quarantine classification for COVID-19. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA— Businesses in the country are hopeful of another restriction downgrade to Alert Level 2 in Metro Manila as COVID-19 cases decline, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Thursday. 

Lowering the mobility restriction to Alert Level 2 could mean higher operational capacity, more income and jobs, Concepcion said in a statement.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 until October 31. 

Under the current restriction level in the National Capital Region, restaurants are allowed to accept diners up to 30 percent capacity for fully vaccinated people and 50 percent outdoor capacity regardless of vaccination status.

If downgraded to Alert Level 2, restaurants will be able to cater to guests up to 50 percent capacity indoors, on top of another 20 percent now that Metro Manila has an over 70 percent vaccination rate, Concepcion said.

In addition, another 10 percent is granted for firms with safety seal from the government, bringing their total indoor capacity to 80 percent under Alert Level 2, he added.

"This would translate to more income that could help them recoup their losses during the pandemic,” he said.

“This is certainly good news for business establishments as they would be getting closer to their ultimate goal of operating at full capacity. This is important for business as this would give them a chance to cover operational expenses such as workers’ salary and supply, among others,” Concepcion stressed.

The business community with representatives from restaurants, salons, spa, cinemas, gyms, amusement parks, hotels and airlines were present in a meeting also attended by the OCTA Research group, Concepcion said. 

Based on current trends, it's possible to register less than 2,000 cases per day by the end of November, Concepcion said citing research data.

"There is no guarantee of course because these are just projections, but those are possibilities, those are real possibilities," said OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David.

Other firms present during the meeting said lowering the alert level would also boost the confidence of consumers to go back to salons, gyms, cinemas as well as amusement and theme parks.

The Philippines on Wednesday recorded its lowest daily tally of 3,218 cases since May. Wednesday's data is the third straight day infections fell below 5,000, data showed. 

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