Some business owners in Puerto Princesa City agree that community quarantine restrictions should be eased up in the 4th quarter of the year not only in Metro Manila but locally as well.
Maj Antonio, Sales and Marketing Manager of Kusinero’s Bila’O order and Catering Services, said this would be definitely in their favor as the economy slowed down since the pandemic started and a lot of people are now getting vaccinated.
“Malaking tulong para makabawi kasi ang laki rin talaga ang hinina ng businesses simula nagkapandemic. Marami narin nagpapa-vaccine. So, as long as yung iilang basic health protocols masusunod pa rin at masigurado ng businesses na sanitized and disinfected ang establishment pwede na somehow mag-ease ng restrictions,” she said.
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Secretary Joey Concepcion, in a press briefing on September 28, 2021, said that the private sector is requesting the National IATF to ease up on the community quarantine classification in Metro Manila so that business owners may make up for their losses in the last quarter.
In an interview with another business owner, however, he expressed uncertainty whether the leniency will be beneficial in the long run as anyone can be carriers of the COVID-19 virus and would spread the infection causing another spike that might lead to another strict lockdown.
“Okay yun. Kasi siyempre sino ba naman ang hindi gustong kumita at makabawi ng lugi? Atsaka depende na rin yun sa business owner kung papaano niya ingatan yung business niya at aanuhin [mapapa-implement yung public health standards sa] mga tao na papasok doon,” he said.
Donsamura and Savouramos gastronomix owners Ara and Arlyn Ramos, meanwhile, said that the 4th quarter is when their business usually thrives and pleads that the government work hand-in-hand with the private sector to impose protocols while supporting businesses.
“As business owners, usually the 4th quarter aka the holidays is the time of the year we look forward to the most because people are looking to spend and our businesses thrive from it. We understand how serious it is [the pandemic] and we share the health concerns with the government. We need help and were looking towards the government to implement more efficient but dapat just measures din without putting so much pressure on us local businesses who employ a lot of the locals and are huge tax contributors by the way,” she said.
“But I think it’s time that we strike a balance between measures to control COVID-19 and its economic effects. We can effectively collaborate instead of negatively impacting one another. Bottomline is we need help and we feel like our cry is falling on deaf ears,” she added.
Based on a consumer’s perspective, Ray said he disagrees as Ber months draw bigger crowds than usual and especially with the suspected Delta variant circulating in the city.
“Okay yun kung para sa akin lang, para sa sarili ko eh ang problema mas crowded mas malaki yung chance na magkahawa-hawa kayo kung sakali man may mga cases. Kasi may nagdadala naman ng COVID na hindi nila alam na meron sila. Pero kung paano kasama yung pamilya tapos crowded? Lalo na ngayon may Delta. Okay sana kung vaccinated ka tapos di ka na tatalaban. Di mo kasi ipagsawalang bahala yung delta variant eh,” he said.
Secretary Concepcion relayed the request of the private sector in a meeting on September 27, 2021, with the medical groups including the Philippine Medical Association to lift the current Alert Level status of Metro Manila from alert level 4 to 3.
Concepcion reasoned that this is to allow business owners to make up for their losses due to the pandemic especially consumer spending will increase in the 4th quarter of the year. He also added that this is to also assist the private sector to be able to provide their employees’ 13th month pay.
In Alert Level 4, various establishments are prohibited to operate and only 30% capacity for al fresco regardless of the consumer’s vaccination status and 10% indoor dine-in with the condition of being fully vaccinated consumers. While Alert Level 3 is more lenient especially in places not affected by a granular lockdown.
Concepcion also said that the capacity allowed in businesses will greatly affect their income hence requests the increase be permitted.
The NCR is on its second last day of the trial implementation of the Alert Level Systems which, if successful, will replace the current community quarantine system nationwide.
Meanwhile, on September 27, 2021, Puerto Princesa City IATF announced that it is seeking the approval of the national government to authorize the implementation of GCQ with heightened restriction or GCQ with Alert Level 4 because of the spike of COVID-19 cases in the city.