FLAGGED FOR RECOVERY: Business groups are asking the government to further relax restrictions on commercial activities in Metro Manila next month. Downgrading the alert status to level 3 would allow small shops — like this barbershop in Barangay San Antonio, Quezon City — to accommodate up to 30 percent of their capacity. (LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Businesses are appealing to the government to place Metro Manila under the more relaxed alert level 3 in the last quarter of the year to allow establishments to accept more customers and help them recover from their losses, according to presidential adviser Joey Concepcion.

Concepcion said representatives of the private sector, including those running restaurants, spas, salons, and gyms, met with medical groups on Monday and presented their request to downgrade the alert level in Metro Manila from level 4.

“We know that the fourth quarter is when businesses can recover their losses. Consumer spending will increase because of Christmas, and I think, also election spending. This quarter is important and I hope the quarantine level would be brought down to level 3,” Concepcion said in a Palace briefing.

30-percent capacity

Under alert level 3, previously restricted businesses will be allowed to operate at 30-percent capacity, with an additional 10 percentage points if they have the safety seal from the government.

They can accept all customers regardless of vaccination status.

These businesses include restaurants and personal care services, which are allowed to operate at only 10-percent capacity for indoor services and accept only vaccinated customers under the current alert level 4. They are also allowed to operate at 30-percent capacity for al fresco dining and outdoor services and accept both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers.

Vaccinated customers

Concepcion said he suggested to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 to increase the allowed operating capacity only when it comes to vaccinated customers.

He said increasing the capacity will help businesses increase their earnings and recover from the losses brought about by previous closures of the economy.

This will also allow them to provide 13th-month pay to their workers, he added.

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