Despite Continued Rise in COVID-19 Cases, DTI Allows More People Inside Barbershops and Salons
Barbershops and salons in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) will be able to accommodate up to 50 percent of their maximum customer capacity from the current 30 percent starting July 16, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). For those under modified GCQ (MGCQ), the same establishments can service up to 75 percent of their capacity from the current 50 percent.
The announcement comes despite total number of COVID-19 cases in the country reaching 54,222 as of Friday, July 10, according to the DOH. Over 38,000 of those are active cases.
The Philippines has the highest number of active COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.
The DTI said the decision was made to continue the momentum in the gradual reopening of the economy. Increasing operational capacities of these establishments means they will be able to accommodate more customers and improve revenues and income. The agency stressed, however, that it was still crucial for businesses to follow safety guidelines and health protocols to prevent the transmission of the virus among employees and customers.
“We know that the lockdown prevented the spread of COVID-19 but it significantly affected the livelihood of our fellow countrymen,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez. “These increases in capacities are meant to enhance the income opportunities of the workers and MSMEs to save jobs. This is critical in order to prevent the collapse of many Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the loss of livelihood.
“At 30 percent capacity, many MSMEs still earn below breakeven income, and workers are only able to receive limited earnings,” he added. “We started at 30 percent as a means to gradually reopen and to test the compliance of establishments to minimum health protocols, as well as not to shock the system.”
Lopez said the compliance rate of barbershops and salons to the previous order on operational capacity was at around “90 to 100 percent.”
According to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, the economy posted a severe contraction from 6.7 percent GDP growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2019 to negative 0.2 percent in the first quarter of the year, to a projected negative 3.4 percent for full year 2020.
Government data also showed that the unemployment rate of 5.3 percent in January 2020 surged to 17.7 percent in April 2020.
“While these figures can be disheartening, we remain optimistic as we see signs of recovery such as those in the manufacturing sector, when we slowly transitioned in May to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) and GCQ. As an effect of the gradual reopening of the economy, the overall manufacturing capacity utilization increased to 73.4 percent in May compared to 71.2 percent in April,” Lopez said.
Meanwhile, the secretary also reported that the DTI will soon release a Memorandum Circular to increase the operational capacity of dine-in establishments, following the high compliance rate of businesses.