The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is expecting minimal impact on businesses as the National Capital Region (NCR) reverted to Alert Level 3 until January 15.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said during the “Laging Handa” public briefing Monday that the difference in terms of allowed sectors in Alert Levels 2 and 3 is minimal and most business establishments are open but with lower operating capacity level.
Lopez said the newly opened sector such as fitness centers and cinemas remain open despite Alert Level 3 being reimposed in Metro Manila starting Monday.
“We think that the impact will not be significant,” Lopez said. “Very few sectors were closed.”
Under Alert Level 3, establishments that are not allowed include funfairs, kid-amusement industries, karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, casinos, horse racing, cockfighting, and other gaming establishments.
Economic activities in indoor setting are allowed to operate up to 30 percent while outdoor setting is at 50 percent.
Since NCR has over 70 percent vaccination rate, another 20 percentage points can be added to the establishment’s operating capacity and another 10 percentage points if they have the safety seal, Lopez added.
“But practically, all other MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and service-oriented businesses including the gyms, the cinemas, etc., are still allowed today—of course, (at) lower operating capacity. So because of that, we can say that it does not have that much of an impact,” he said.
As the alert level system was raised in Metro Manila, Lopez said about 100,000 to 200,000 jobs will be temporarily shed in the labor market.
Easing minors’ mobility
He said the agency and the National Economic and Development Authority are also studying to allow again the mobility of minors especially if they are already vaccinated.
Lopez said even at Alert Level 2 when minors were allowed to go out at least before Omicron cases were confirmed as well as during the holidays, cases continued to go down and no surges were observed.
He added that there is a “big possibility” that the surge in cases is not connected to easing the mobility for minors.
“So, it is important to review again the protocols when it comes to allowing minors, those below 18 years old especially if vaccinated. Maybe we can adjust the protocol to also allow minors because they are also a big help in our economy,” Lopez said.
Source: Philippines News Agency