LIST: Businesses allowed to open under general community quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2020   •   2433

MANILA, Philippines – Some business establishments will soon be allowed to open under a relaxed form of community quarantine as the Philippine government seeks to soften the economic losses brought about by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In the guidelines released by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), it listed the industries, and establishments that can open, as well as activities that may resume under the general community quarantine (GCQ).

The business sectors that will be allowed to operate with minimum health standards under GCQ starting May 1 are the following:

  • Manufacturing activities involving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; cement and steel; electrical machinery; wood products; furniture; non-metallic products; textiles or wearing apparels; tobacco products; paper and paper products; rubber and plastic products; coke and refined petroleum products; other non-metallic mineral products; computer, electronic and optical products; electrical equipment; machinery and equipment; motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers; other transport equipment; and others
  • Malls and commercial centers: hardware stores, clothing and accessories, and non-leisure stores
  • Barbershops, salon, spas, and other personal care industries with strict health standards
  • Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Forestry and logging
  • Publishing activities
  • Motion picture, video and television program production, sound recording and music publishing activities
  • Advertising and market research
  • Real estate activities, except buying and selling
  • Office administrative, office support, and other business activities
  • Legal and accounting
  • Insurance, reinsurance, and pension funding, except compulsory social security
  • Architecture and engineering activities, technical testing and analysis
  • Scientific and research development
  • Other professional, scientific and technical activities
  • Social work activities without accommodation
  • Government frontline offices: all offices will be allowed to open

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that all government offices will be allowed to open under the GCQ to serve the public.

Other business sectors will also be permitted to operate but are directed to implement safety and sanitization measures to ensure the health and protection of their employees as previously emphasized by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Meanwhile, businesses that will remain closed under GCQ and enhanced community quarantine are the following:

  • Gyms, fitness studios and sports facilities
  • Entertainment-related mass gatherings, including but not limited to: theaters, cinemas, large concerts, festivals, carnivals, conventions, shows, pubs, bars
  • Business-related mass gatherings, including but not limited to: trade shows, conferences, conventions, workshops, retreats
  • Politically-related mass gatherings, including but not limited to: election rallies, polling centers, parades, speeches, addresses
  • Sports-related mass gatherings, including but not limited to: trainings, games, tournaments, championships
  • Libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural activities
  • Gambling and betting activities
  • Travel agency, tour operator, reservation service and related activities
  • Activities of membership organizations

Roque, however, stressed that this list is still being finalized. The IATF will be meeting on Wednesday on the matter.

Universities and colleges in GCQ areas may also be allowed to operate under a skeleton workforce by May 4 but to only formally conclude the Academic Year 2019-2020, issue credentials to students, and prepare flexible learning arrangements for the next academic year. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

IATF includes Central Visayas, Zambo City in areas under GCQ come June 1

Maris Federez   •   May 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has added several provinces and cities to the list of areas that will be placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) from June 1 to 15.

This, after several local government executives made their appeal to the IATF-MEID to reclassify the community quarantine status of their respective areas.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that Region 7 or the Central Visayas, including Cebu City and Mandaue City, and the city of Zamboanga in Mindanao are now among the areas that will be under the GCQ come Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday initially announced that the National Capital Region (NCR), Regions II, III, and IV, the province of Pangasinan and the city of Davao are placed under GCQ.

The rest of the areas that the chief executive did not mention will be placed under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting next month.

Under the GCQ, more economic sectors will be able to resume operation, while those that will be under the MGCQ will transition to the “new normal” way of living.

Meanwhile, the Malacañang assured that the IATF is now finding ways on how the public utility jeepneys (PUJ) will be able to resume operation while maintaining social distancing and health protocols, as more industries will reopen by Monday.

Roque said that as reported by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the resumption of operations of mass transportation in the NCR will be done in phases.

Pasensya na po sa ating mga kapatid na namamasada ng mga jeepney, pero pinag-aaralan pa po kung papaano magkakaroon ng social distancing sa ating mga jeepney. Bagaman mayroon na po tayong bahagyang pagbukas o pagpayag sa mga pampublikong transportasyon, ang pangunahing guidelines po diyan social distancing,” Roque said.

[I beg the indulgence of our jeepney drivers, but maintaining social distancing inside the jeepneys is still being determined. Although we have already started to open our public transportation, the primary guidelines to be considered in it is social distancing.] —(from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

TNVS gears up as operations resume on June 1

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 30, 2020

The Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) industry is already preparing for the resumption of operations on June 1 when Metro Manila finally shifts to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

TNVS driver Noel Guimbaolibot has added plastic covers and disinfectant solutions in his car as part of the minimum health standards for public transportation.

Noel is looking forward to the resumption of operations since he hasn’t been able to earn for over three months because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said he has to brave the risk of getting infected in order to earn for his loved ones.

“Sa ngayon, hindi pa naman nawawala iyong COVID-19. Ang pinakamaganda talaga ay lagi lang maging maingat. Magsuot ng face mask every time, mag-spray ng alcohol, (COVID-19 is not going away just yet. It would be best to always be careful. Wear a face mask and spray alcohol),” he said.

Grab PH will be implementing new protocols for their partner-drivers in accordance with the directives of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Before being allowed to operate, Grab PH’s partner-drivers will have to answer a checklist to determine if they are fit enough to operate. They will also undergo training to make sure they are following health protocols.

Cashless system will also be encouraged to avoid direct contact. Drivers will also be allowed to cancel their booking if the passenger is not wearing a face mask. Likewise, passengers may also cancel their booking if the driver is not wearing a face mask.

Grab PH president, Brian Cu assures that they will not implement any fare hike as operations resume. However, they will appeal to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for a five-peso fare increase by next month.

“The disinfection kits and disinfection measures are an added cost for them, to the drivers, so we made a proposal to the LTFRB to raise the per trip cost by a fixed amount to help cover these items,” he said.

Meanwhile, TNVS drivers are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing before resumption of operations unless they are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms. Grab PH has test kits prepared for their partner drivers. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

DOLE reminds companies, employees of COVID-19 prevention protocols as work resumes Monday

Marje Pelayo   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila and some parts of the country will begin the implementation of general community quarantine (GCQ) on Monday (June 1).

Alongside the shift from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ)to GCQ is the reopening of companies and establishments with a number of employees returning to their workplaces.

Based on records by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) around 2.8 million workers stopped working, some were laid off, due to the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-1) pandemic on the country’s economy. 

Thus, many of those whose income were affected during the quarantine will need to work harder to recover their finances with the reopening of industries and sectors.

“Considering na matagal silang nawalan ng trabaho [Considering the length of time that they have been idle], you can just imagine the rush of workers kasi no-work-no-pay,” Bello noted.

“Now that they can work, for sure they will do everything within their means to report back to office,” he added.

The Secretary also expressed concern about the workers’ dilemma over the limited operation of mass transportation.

Street sweeper Lolita Danieles just returned to work on Tuesday (May 26) after two months of staying at home. 

However, she struggles with transportation as she has to pay P70 for a tricycle ride from Payatas to Litex, just halfway to her workplace in Timog Avenue.

“Minsan ang bus pumapara kami hindi kami hinihintuan. Maghintay talaga kami. Tyaga lang, [There are buses passing by but they do not stop. We need to wait patiently,]” she said.

“Kanina nga lang hinintuan kami nung kotse, siningil sa amin tig P50 isa, [Earlier a car owner offered us a ride but charged us P50 each],” she said.

Meanwhile, an employee of a construction company, Crispin Acincieno said he opted for a two-way personal service from his home in Bulacan to his work in Quezon City instead of commuting. 

“Definitely hindi muna. Kasi hindi pa naman sigurado. Hindi pa naman 100% safe na mag-public transport [Not yet for now, definitely, because it’s not yet sure if public transportations are 100% safe],” he said. 

Secretary Bello reminds employers and employees to always observe health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

These include the regular wearing of masks, temperature checking, setting up disinfection stations with alcohol and foot baths as well as maintaining proper social distance. 

Ating sinisiguro na ang ating mga worker na nakapasok ay ligtas sa contamination at transmission ng COVID-19 [We want to make sure, that our returning employees and workers are safe from contamination and transmission of COVID-19],” Bello said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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