DTI: Alert Level 3 in NCR won’t significantly impact businesses

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expects minimal impact on businesses even as the National Capital Region (NCR) reverts itself to Alert Level 3 until January 15.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez assured Monday the difference in terms of allowed sectors in Alert Levels 2 and 3 is minimal and most business establishments will remain open but with lower operating capacity accommodation level.

Lopez said newly opened sectors like as fitness centers and cinemas will remain open despite the reimposition of Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila starting Monday. “We think the impact will not be significant. Very few sectors were closed,” he noted.

Under Alert Level 3, establishments not allowed to operate include funfairs, kid-amusement industries, karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, casinos, horse racing, cockfighting, and other gaming establishments. Economic activities in indoor setting are allowed to operate up to 30%; outdoor setting is at 50%.

Since NCR has registered over 70 percent vaccination rate, another 20 percentage points can be added to the firms’ operating capacity and another 10% percentage points if they have the safety seal, he added.

Lopez, however, said “practically all other MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and service-oriented businesses including gyms, cinemas, etc., are still allowed today at lower operating capacity, of course. Because of that, we can say it does not have that much of an impact,” he explained.

As the alert level system was raised in Metro Manila, Lopez said about 100,000 to 200,000 jobs will be temporarily shed in the labor market.

The DTI Secretary said they and the National Economic and Development Authority are also studying the possibility of  allowing again the mobility of minors especially if they are already vaccinated.

He said even at Alert Level 2 when minors were allowed to go out at least before Omicron cases were confirmed, and during the holidays, cases continued to go down and no surges were observed.

He added there is a “big possibility” the surge in cases is not connected to easing the mobility for minors. “So, it is important to review again the protocols when it comes to allowing minors, to move around if already vaccinated. Maybe we can adjust the protocols to also allow minors because they are also a big help in our economy,” he explained.