The government will allow operation at full capacity of business activities in 17 sectors, from mining and construction to film production and pet shops, in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) as part of its efforts to rebuild the Philippine economy, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced on Friday.
In his Memorandum Circular No. 20-52, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said there was an increasing need “to provide stability for businesses, restimulate the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and address the growing number of joblessness, poverty and hunger incidence in the country.”
The new guidelines in the memo will take effect upon the circular’s publication and filing with the University of the Philippines Law Center.
“The DTI is authorized by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) to adjust operating capacity of businesses,” Lopez said, when asked whether the circular still needed approval.
Aside from mining and quarrying, those that will be allowed to operate with 100 percent of their workforce include financial services other than banks, such as money exchange, insurance, reinsurance and lending companies; legal and accounting; management consultancy; architecture and engineering; technical testing and analysis; scientific and research development; advertising and market research; computer programming, information services and related activities; and publishing and printing services.
In addition to government or construction projects also allowed were film, music and TV production; job recruitment for overseas; “other” services, such as photography, fashion, industrial, graphic and interior design; wholesale and retail trade of vehicles; repair of motor vehicles, including car wash; nonleisure activities in malls and commercial centers; and nonleisure wholesale and retail.
The last category covers hardware stores; clothing and accessories; bookstores and school and office supplies; infant care supplies; pet shops, pet food and pet care supplies; information technology, communications and electronic equipment; flower, jewelry, novelty, antique, perfume shops; toy stores except their playgrounds and amusement areas; music stores; art galleries (selling only); and firearms and ammunition trading.
Lopez said that based on regular monitoring activities conducted by the DTI, the businesses in the new list covered in his memo had not been allowed to fully operate under GCQ but were found “compliant with the minimum public health and safety protocols.”
The DTI also considered the Department of Health’s assessment that it now took longer for the number of COVID-19 cases to double in places under GCQ and that the rate that critical care facilities were being used had decreased.
The DTI will also allow barbershops and salons to operate up to 75-percent capacity but “subject to strict physical distancing.”
Dine-in services at restaurants and fast-food establishments are now allowed at more than 50 percent of capacity also with strict physical distancing.
Dine-in, delivery services
Dine-in as well as delivery services “shall be allowed to operate up to 24 hours a day, as far as practicable, to augment the additional operational requirements and serve the needs of the public, while enhancing income opportunities for workers,” Lopez said.
At the onset of the pandemic, the government, through the IATF, adopted guidelines that classified various industries based on the extent to which business establishments would be allowed to operate under varying grades of community quarantine—enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), modified ECQ, GCQ and modified GCQ.
The Omnibus Guidelines for the Implementation of Community Quarantine listed which industries—or subindustries in agriculture, manufacturing and services—would be allowed to operate at full capacity, partial capacity or not at all.
The industries or economic activities were prioritized and categorized based on whether their output was essential. Thus, establishments engaged in health services were allowed to operate fully even under ECQ. Others not considered essential, such as barbershops and salons, are allowed only partial operation even under GCQ.
The main consideration has been the risk of infection, not the number of people a business employs.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.