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Private sector drafts guidelines to loosen pandemic curbs amid Covid variant threat

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The private sector seeks to finalize within the next month a proposal for Covid-19 guidelines allowing further mobility and business activities considering the emergence of the Delta variant and the rollout of the vaccination program.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria A. Concepcion said in a Senate hearing on Monday that it is important to come up with new protocols easing restrictions as more of the population get vaccinated, especially if the country is safeguarded from the Covid-19 Delta variant.

“Hopefully, within the next one month, we would be able to come out with our own recommendations assuming no Delta variant, we achieved 50 percent population protection, we achieved herd immunity,” Concepcion said.

“If we are able to achieve population protection by September, October, we can open up more. If we are able to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year, which is a very big challenge, in NCR [National Capital Region] plus, then we can really open up much more,” he added.

The proposal is seen to help certain sectors in the services area, Concepcion said, citing restaurants, gyms and retail. Their operations are dependent on the allowed operational capacity set by the government, which affects their businesses, he explained.

In addition, the proposal will also tackle measures allowing the tourism sector to recover amid the pandemic, Concepcion pointed out.

“We are asking greater mobility for those who are vaccinated and give them greater access,” he said. “We have to allow more mobility for us to spur economic activity.”

Consultations with different industries are currently happening to finalize the list of requests to the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force.

At the moment, Concepcion said that both the government and the private sector are focused on ramping up the vaccination rollout in the country.

The presidential adviser, meanwhile, also advised to be proactive in addressing the Covid-19 Delta variant as this can throw a wrench to the already struggling economy.

“We have to be careful in opening up, especially our borders in countries that have a very high level of Delta variant,” he explained.

Based on the latest guidelines by the Trade department, indoor dine-in services for restaurants in NCR plus are allowed at 20 percent to 40 percent capacity. Outdoor dine-in capacity is set at 50-percent limit.

Personal care services, including beauty salons and barbershops, are allowed to operate within 30 percent to 50 percent in NCR plus.

Business establishments with Safety Seal Certifications are allowed to operate at an additional 10 percentage points on top of the prescribed on-site operational capacity. Securing a Safety Seal signifies that an establishment follows the health protocols and uses digital contact-tracing application.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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