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Gov't may increase operating capacity of businesses in NCR, Calabarzon in case of prolonged GCQ

The government is considering increasing the operating capacity of some businesses that are allowed to operate under general community quarantine (GCQ), as the shift of Metro Manila and Calabarzon to a more relaxed quarantine level is still uncertain.

“‘Pag tumagal ‘tong quarantine level na ‘to at hindi nag-iiba ‘yung level [of operating capacity]... ito ang puwedeng consideration na we’ll be working on business operating capacity, instead of changing the quarantine level,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

The Department of Trade and Industry, Lopez said, also shares the sentiment of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to place Metro Manila and Calabarzon under a more lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) since 60% to 67% of the Philippine economy is based in those regions. 

“Moving another quarantine level, malaking bagay po ‘yun. We support that kind of approach na kung puwede lang mas maaga maibigay ang MGCQ,” the Trade chief said.

“But, then again, habang tumatagal ang GCQ marami na rin ang naman na na-reopen na sector kahit nasa GCQ,” he added.

Lopez explained that under GCQ, several labor-dependent industries such as dine-in services of food establishments and barbershops and salons are allowed to reopen, albeit at 30% operating capacity.

“Ito po ay pag-aaralan natin na puwedeng i-increase even without moving to MGCQ ay meron namang puwedeng gawing paraan para mapaaga ang pag increase ng operating capacity allowed,” he said.

“For example, ‘yung 30% pinag aaralan kung pwede ma-increase na to 40% or 50%,” he added.

Barbershops and salons account for about 400,000 workers, while restaurants account for 1.7 million workers, according to the DTI chief.

“So napaka-importante na magumpisa na ulit sila at an earlier stage so kahit sa GCQ na-allow na sila imbis na MGCQ pa sila mag-open,” Lopez said.

Meanwhile, under MGCQ, gyms, cinemas, and other similar establishments are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity.

Foreign business travelers may also be allowed to enter the country once quarantine restrictions are downgraded to MGCQ.

As the country begins to relax the community quarantine measures, Lopez said 95% of the sectors are already open under MGCQ and GCQ.

“If we move [Metro Manila and Calabarzon] to MGCQ it will open up the rest 5% na sector na naiwan,” he said. KBK, GMA News