PHILIPPINES— As Covid-19 cases continue to dip, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3rd and business owners called on the government to place the National Capital Region (NCR) under Alert Level 2 to help businesses recover.
Metro Manila is currently under Alert Level 3, allowing a 50 percent capacity for outdoor operations and 30 percent for indoor activities in select establishments.
Concepcion, who is also the founder of Go Negosyo, said that business sectors look forward to the further downgrading of the alert level, as this would allow them to expand their operations.
“Business establishments are looking forward to the possibility of declaring Alert Level 2 in Metro Manila as it would lead to additional capacity to accommodate more customers. This would translate to more income that could help them recoup their losses during the pandemic,” he said.
Concepcion made the statement following his meeting on Wednesday with representatives of restaurants, salons, spas, cinemas, gyms, amusement parks, hotels and airlines.
During the meeting, OCTA Research presented data showing the downward trend in the number of Covid-19 cases, not just in Metro Manila but in other parts of the country.
Metro Manila tallied just 953 cases per day on a seven-day average from October 20 to 26.
The reproduction number in NCR was 0.52 percent while its incidence rate was just 6.73 percent per 100,000.
Metro Manila recorded a positivity rate of 6 percent while its health care utilization rate was at 35 percent.
Based on the current trends, OCTA Research claimed that cases could decrease to less than 2,000 per day by the end of November.
“By the end of November, we are expecting less than 2,000 cases per day in the whole country, we hope we can sustain this trend and perhaps by December, it could be at less than 1,000 cases per day,” said OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David.
“There is no guarantee of course because these are just projections, but those are possibilities, those are real possibilities,” he added.
The Philippines logged 3,694 new cases on Thursday.
The next alert level will be announced before October 31.
If Metro Manila is placed under Alert Level 2 starting next month, indoor establishments will be allowed 50 percent indoor capacity, on top of the 20 percent additional capacity now that Metro Manila has a vaccination rate of more than 70 percent.
In addition, Concepcion said an indoor business establishment is given an additional 10 percent if it carries a safety seal, bringing the total capacity to 80 percent.
He said that outdoor venues are allowed to operate at 70 percent capacity, regardless of the vaccination status of customers.
“This is certainly good news for business establishments, as they would be getting closer to their ultimate goal of operating at full capacity. This is important for business, as this would give them a chance to cover operational expenses such as workers’ salary and supply, among others,” Concepcion said.
“Increasing capacity would require additional manpower, which is also a welcome development for those who temporarily lost their jobs or are currently working on alternate shifts just to give everyone a chance to earn. Now they also have an opportunity to earn a living for their family’s needs,” he added.
During the meeting, representatives from different business sectors expressed their support to Concepcion’s call of further lowering alert levels in NCR so that capacity can be increased.
“We support the call for increased capacity. We have also observed that the alert level system seems to help boost consumer confidence,” RestoPH President Eric Teng said.