Businesses to stay open under MECQ

·4 min read

THE business community in Cebu has assured the public of continued flow of essential goods and services despite the varying levels of restrictions implemented in highly urbanized cities and the province of Cebu.

Filipino Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy said micro, small and medium businesses are committed to ensuring business continuity while protecting their workers.

“We take the health and safety of our employees and stakeholders very seriously. In the face of this pandemic, we have implemented procedures to safeguard our employees while continuing to best serve our clients,” he said.

Since much of what they do are considered essential services, Calooy said manufacturing, construction project, plant operations and services will continue to operate under applicable government authorizations.

Assessment

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) downgraded the quarantine status of Cebu Province to general community quarantine with heightened restrictions until Aug. 15 provided that granular lockdowns would be implemented while the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu remained under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said the IATF’s recent declarations for Cebu Province and its tri-cities are meant to contain the local transmission of the delta variant.

“This is to restrict moving non-essential travels to avoid more transmission of Covid-19 cases. In as much as we don’t want such a decision, we all have to comply,” he said.

Taguiam noted that businesses will be greatly affected again and transport operators will need to adopt the same loading protocols of last year to balance health and livelihood.

“We need people to travel from point to point. Trade must continue and we hope for everyone’s cooperation. We need to make drastic and unpopular decisions for a better last quarter,” Taguiam said.

“The new variant is no joke and can even affect younger patients,” the CCCI official warned.

Cebu’s tri-cities are under MECQ from Aug. 1 to 15. But the local executives of these cities have appealed to the government’s task force for reconsideration to save jobs and businesses.

On July 30, the Cebu City Government appealed to the government’s task force “to continue the observance of its current quarantine status under the modified general community quarantine.”

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said they will wait for the results of the appeal of the tri-cities.

“As indicated by our local government unit leaders, we wish to have a unified status if allowed,” he said.

Malls remain open

Meanwhile, malls have adjusted their operating hours and temporarily closed non-essential businesses.

Ayala Center Cebu’s operating hours remained from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except for The Marketplace which opens at 9 a.m. daily.

The mall, in a statement, said essential retail and services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and telecom providers, are open at full capacity.

Restaurants, under the MECQ guidelines, will remain operational for takeout, delivery and limited outdoor dining.

Indoor dining will not be allowed.

Retail stores and personal grooming services remain open with limited capacity.

Robinsons Galleria Cebu, on the other hand, said all its establishments will remain open except for entertainment, amusement centers, gyms and internet cafes.

Restaurants will be open for delivery and takeout while outdoor dining will be at 50 percent capacity.

Shoppers age 18 to 65 years old are the only ones allowed inside the mall.

Mall hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. while The Marketplace opens from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In SM City Cebu, the mall is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., starting Aug, 1, 2021 until further notice.

However, tenants from all retail stores, The SM Store, supermarket, pharmacies, dental clinics, optical shops, hardware stores, banks, beauty salon and barbershops, telecom and computer shops and select services shops remain open. Restaurants will also offer outdoor dining and take-out and delivery services.

Business leaders urged the public to follow minimum safety protocols at all times while wearing face masks and face shields and observing strict social distancing.

Malls have also cancelled the Philsys or the national I.D. registration until further notice.

Vaccinations inside malls, however, will continue to fast- track the inoculation amid the presence of the deadlier and more transmissible delta variant. (JOB)

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