Economic reopening allows firms to absorb more workers
The adoption of alert level system, initially in Metro Manila and then in other parts of the country, is expected to encourage more businesses to reopen and rehire workers. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the remaining 800,000 displaced workers may soon return to work with the reopening of the provincial economies placed under alert levels 2 and 3. Metro Manila, which recently graduated from alert level 4, was allowed to reopen economic activities that require physical contact such as massage parlors, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, barbershops and cosmetic/aesthetic procedures. Dine-in establishments are also allowed to operate at up to 30 percent for indoor dining and 50 percent for outdoor dining. “If the area is over 70-percent vaccinated, then there’s an additional 20 percentage points more,” said Lopez. For fitness studios, gyms and venues for individual non-contact exercise and sports, clients and crews are required to wear mask at all times while group activities are still prohibited. In-person religious gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals have also been allowed. Other permitted activities are venues for social events like parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut, birthday parties, family reunions and bridal or baby showers; meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions; visitor and tourist attractions like libraries, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens and scenic viewpoints; amusement or theme parks; recreational venues like internet cafes, billiard halls, arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls and swimming pools. Creative activities like film, music and TV production subject to the joint guidelines as maybe issued by the Department of Trade, Department of Labor and Employment, and Department to Health as well as cinemas and movie houses are all permitted activities. The government also allowed licensure examinations and entrance or qualifying exams to resume. Continuous operations “Now businesses are guaranteed of continuity to operate. Outdoor activities are open for both vaccinated and unvaccinated patrons, but only vaccinated clients are allowed for indoor activities like in the gyms and indoor dining. Establishment workers are required to be vaccinated, whether the business activity is indoor or outdoor,” Lopez said. “The only remaining activities that are yet to be reopened are those involving kids’ amusement, karaoke and other forms of entertainment. Practically all establishments are opened,” he said. More than the opening of businesses, the youth may start going back to physical classes as the government initiates the preliminaries to pilot face-to-face classes in selected schools and colleges. Based on the updates released by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, more than 1,500 children aged 12 and up have been vaccinated. This signals the start of phased face-to-phase interaction in schools in areas where 70 percent of the population have received COVID-19 immunization. The IATF said some 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are bound to arrive within the fourth quarter, adding to the 90.4 million doses that arrived in the Philippines.