CEBU will have to build up its image as a safe business destination to revive consumer and business confidence rattled by the Covid-19 pandemic.
By doing so, consumer spending activities will gradually come back, and the local economy will come to life again.
“We should build Cebu’s image again to help increase consumer confidence and business climate,” said Rey Calooy, president of the Filipino-Cebuano Business Club.
Cebu City has been on a stricter lockdown since June 15.
Its business community is looking forward to the easing of its community quarantine status to save ailing businesses and jobs.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Felix Taguiam disclosed that the chamber has already received 92 requests for closure.
“Most of the business owners in Cebu are traders. The chamber has 891 members, and right now I already received 92 requests for closure,” said Taguiam, during an Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) meeting with Secretary Roy Cimatu, the Covid-19 overseer in Cebu.
“In as much as we want to hold on to them, we have to respect their business decisions,” Taguiam said, in a separate interview.
CCCI has been assisting struggling members for their loan applications and other government relief programs.
Moreover, the CCCI official expressed optimism on the possible lockdown downgrade by the end of the month with small-scale lockdowns in barangays with high Covid-19 infections.
Cimatu said he will recommend to the IATF-EID to place Cebu City under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting on Aug. 1.
“What you said, sir, is good news. Businesses are now more health-conscious and I believe we are better equipped this time (for reopening),” Taguiam told Cimatu.
Under a GCQ status, public movement and transportation are less restrictive, and several non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen to the public.
Meanwhile, Calooy said the granular lockdowns still spell enhanced community quarantine-like restrictions.
“Most of our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) come from the most populated barangays, those barangays that will be in granular lockdowns. As long as the threat of the pandemic is still there, MSMEs will continue to struggle or would rather close temporarily,” Calooy said.
Cebu City, according to Calooy, has an estimated 40,000 MSMEs. (JOB)