Relaxed age restriction in MGCQ areas to stimulate biz: DTI


MANILA – The government’s latest move to further ease age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) would result in increased revenues of businesses particularly the retail sector, the country’s top trade official said on Friday.

In a radio interview, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said based on their surveys among businesses, their revenues could double or triple when more segments of the market are allowed to go outside.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) now allows ages 10 to 65 years old from 15 to 65 years old in MGCQ areas to go outside their residences, which means individuals from 10 to 14 years old can now enter malls and other retail outlets.

In justifying the move, Lopez said the reasons behind their recommendation to IATF — first, family activities such as shopping and dining accounted for 50 percent of stores’ revenues, based on DTI surveys among shopping malls; second, adults can now shop and dine with their household members from age 10 years old; and third, there was no surge in Covid-19 cases since the government reopened the economy.

“Imagine, we allow the reopening of different sectors but you don’t have the market because there is age limitation. Then, the story is not yet complete. We haven’t got back to pre-Covid level,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

Lopez said since the measure will re-stimulate economic activities, this will help businesses to survive amid challenging environment during the pandemic to prevent more closure of enterprises and shedding more jobs.

He added that despite the relaxed age restriction, the strict implementation of the minimum health standards shall be kept.

Local government units in GCQ areas like Metro Manila may also expand the age group to go outside depending on the Covid-19 situation in their respective areas, Lopez said. 

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