THE Inter Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the gradual reopening of the economy in proportion to the health care capacity of the country, even as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had already allowed the 100 percent operational capacity of some establishments and businesses operating in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the IATF has approved Resolution No. 76, which tackled the reopening of the economy, better management of the pandemic through a stronger prevention- detection-isolation-and treatment strategy, and implementation of a supplemental feeding program.
Economic leaders have been pushing for the gradual re-opening of the economy to jumpstart the recovery of the country, which had gone into recession following the work stoppage during the months of lockdown.
The DTI on October 2 issued Memorandum 20-52 that approved the increasing of operational capacity of certain establishments to 75 percent and 100 percent.
Among the sectors allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity starting this month are those involved in: mining and quarrying; financial services like money exchange, insurance, reinsurance, lending companies, and non-compulsory pension funding; legal and accounting, management consultancy activities, architecture and engineering activities, technical testing and analysis, scientific and research development, advertising and market research, recruitment and placement agencies for overseas employment, and computer programming, information service activities, and other related activities.
Also operating at 100 percent capacity are recruitment and placement agencies for overseas employment, publishing and printing services; film, music, and TV production; other services such as photography services, fashion, industrial, graphic, and interior design; wholesale and retail trade of motor vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles, including their parts and components; and repair and maintenance of motor vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles.
Non-leisure establishments in malls and commercial centers are also allowed to operate at 100 percent subject further to pertinent guidelines to be issued by the DTI. These establishments include hardware stores, clothing and accessories, bookstores and school and office supplies stores, baby or infant care supplies stores, and pet shops, pet food, and pet care supplies.
Other establishments include IT, communications, and electronic equipment; flower, jewelry, novelty, antique, perfume shops; music stores, toy stores but playgrounds and amusement areas to remain closed, art galleries for selling items only, and firearms and ammunition trading establishments.
DTI said barbershops and salons may operate at a maximum of 75 percent capacity, while dine-in services of restaurants and fastfoods are allowed to operate at 50 percent operational capacity for up to 24 hours as long as physical distancing measures are observed.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has expressed its support to the DTI decision to allow several businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a radio interview, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he is highly in favor of DTI’s decision as it will augur well for the workers displaced by the community lockdowns imposed due to the health crisis.
“That is a major development. We have been waiting for this proposal by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez. And we support this proposal,” said Bello.
“We really pity our workers as many of them have been rendered jobless for several months already. This proposal for 100 percent resumption should really be evaluated already,” he added.
But aside from resuming full operations, the labor chief said it is also necessary for the ridership capacity in public transportation be increased.
He said this is because public transportation is essential if employees are to be allowed to resume their work.
“We also support the proposal of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade regarding ridership. Because, even if workers want to go back to work, they cannot do so because they have no means,” said the official.
“We also have the same request, for ridership to be increased even just up to 70 percent,” added Bello. – With Gerard Naval