The proposal of Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion to lower alert levels in Metro Manila gained more steam on Tuesday as he received backing from different business sectors.
Various restaurant, gym and personal care services owners and operators have expressed full support to Concepcion’s advocacy during a meeting that was also attended by officials from cinema and wellness industries.
“We have been talking to DOH and the OCTA group as we look into the data of COVID cases. We are now experiencing a downward trend as Malaysia and Thailand and we believe that this should be considered by the government, and we can be allowed to open up more this 4th quarter,” Concepcion stressed.
Concepcion has been calling on the government to lower the alert levels in the National Capital Region from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 or 2 in the last 2 ½ months of 2021 to pave way for 50-percent or even 70-percent indoor capacity for restaurants and personal care services for fully vaccinated customers.
The Go Negosyo founder is also appealing for the reopening of other industries, such as cinemas, derma clinics, and wellness spas for the fully vaccinated across all alert levels. Based on the government’s alert levels, the aforementioned industries are only allowed to operate under Alert Level 2.
Currently, indoor capacities for dine-in services and personal care services are now at 20 percent for fully vaccinated customers, but establishments can accommodate up to 30 percent provided they have safety seal certification.
Gyms and fitness studios are also allowed to reopen under Alert Level 4 at a limited 20 percent capacity for fully vaccinated clients, provided that all gym workers are also fully vaccinated.
“I know that 20-30% capacity won’t be enough to cover for expenses, salaries and 13th month benefits. We need to allow more to cover for losses and if we cross 2022 still closed, this will be a much bigger problem for the economy,” Concepcion added.
“Let us open, let us serve, let us do business, give us freedom to defend our industry, give us freedom to defend our investments, give us the freedom to defend our jobs,” said Eric Teng of Resto PH, adding “let start to learn to live with COVID, let’s not hide and fear about this anymore, we are vaccinated.”
“IATF should realize it’s not just small business anymore, it is the entire industry has to be protected,” Johnlu Koa of French Baker said. “Without the smallness of the restaurants in the mall operating, soon it will collapse the mall, then the malls collapse the banks, then the banks collapse everybody else,” he added.
Robert Trota of Max’s Group insisted that restaurants should open their doors to the fully vaccinated. “People want to dine, its tiring ordering food for take out for the past many months. People really want to sit down and to be served,” said Trota.
“We are very supportive of Go Negosyo’s plan to lobby and bring the alert level 2 or 3,” said Miguel Gutierrez, co-founder of Anytime Fitness Philippines.
As for David Charlton, owner of David’s Salon, the Philippines should keep up with the rest of the world when it comes to reopening business industries.
“I see the rest of the world reopening up and only the Philippines doesn’t have face to face classes yet.” Charlton said, adding vaccination is the key to eradicating COVID-19.
“In behalf of CEAP, we’d like to thank Go Negosyo, especially sir Joey for pushing our cause,” Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP) president Charmaine Bauzon.
Concepcion, for his part, stressed the importance of allowing businesses to fully operate, saying not only the big business are affected but the local government and national governments as well because their tax collections will be affected.
“The small are the ones most vulnerable among us, they are the ones who hardly have any credit lines,” Concepcion added.
During their meeting, Concepcion presented the private sector’s various efforts to convince the government to allow additional capacity for dine-in restaurants and personal care services for the fully vaccinated and to reopen other industries.
Concepcion also discussed the details of his meeting with the Department of Health (DOH) regarding the scientific way of determining alert levels in Metro Manila and the private sector’s successful call to the government to implement shorter quarantine for the fully vaccinated.
The presidential adviser also shared the positive news from OCTA Research about the downward trend of cases in the National Capital Region, which could result in Alert Level 3 or possibly Alert Level 2 for Metro Manila.
OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David on Tuesday reported that the reproduction number, or the number of people that one COVID-19 case can infect, in the NCR further dropped to 0.61 from 0.74 from the previous week.
He added that the seven-day average in NCR also decreased to 1,933 while the region’s positivity rate remained at 12 percent. With the way the numbers are going, Dr. David said the NCR is ready to be placed under Alert Level 2.
As a way to jumpstart the economy, Concepcion is advocating the “Bakuna Bubble” concept where vaccinated individuals can enjoy more mobility and reduced restrictions.
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