In a bid to mitigate both rising unemployment and Covid19 cases, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will be continuing the implementation of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus bubble, while also allowing the resumption at limited capacity indoor dining establishments and services such as salons and barbershops.
Metro Manila, along with neighboring provinces Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal and Laguna, were placed under strict enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on March 29 to reduce the surging rate of Covid19 infections in the country.
The NCR Plus bubble was then brought down to MECQ on April 12, and is now set to remain as such until May 14; even though the number of daily recorded cases has lowered throughout lockdown, hospitals in the areas continue to remain overcrowded due to the overwhelming number of present and incoming, cases.
Meanwhile, as a result of the strict lockdown protocols, livelihood for a vast number of Filipinos took a dive as establishments closed down or only employed skeletal workforces.
Department of Trade and Industry secretary Ramon Lopez noted that their agency counted almost 1.5 million jobs were lost under ECQ, and with the reopening of dine-in and personal care services, 300,000 jobs should be restored on top of the 500,000 that were restored when the NCR Plus bubble switched to MECQ.
Restaurants will be allowed to accommodate a 10% capacity for indoor dining, while personal care establishments are granted 30% capacity. Staff for both services must strictly follow public health safety protocols.
Should any of these businesses be able to obtain a Safety Seal Certification after application and subsequent rigorous assessment, their capacity limit will be granted an increase.
As of May 3, a total of 69,466 Covid19 infections remain active as the country battles a surge that has persisted for more than a month now.
Photo: CNN Philippines