IATF allows mall sales, promo events to revive economy
Under IATF Resolution No. 79, the task force said the move is aimed at gradually restoring economic activity in the country.
IATF allows mall sales, promo events to revive economy
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — To further spur economic activity, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has directed the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to allow business establishments to increase their activities and operational capacities.

Under IATF Resolution No. 79, the task force said the move is aimed at gradually restoring economic activity in the country.

This will cover all business establishments or activities in areas classified under general community quarantine (GCQ) or lower.

“The establishments and malls may hold activities so that there will be economic or business activity such as sales, but still subject to the DTI guidelines in the operation of shopping malls,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. told state-run PTV-4.

Roque noted that sales of malls traditionally go up during the “ber” months, referring to the months in the run-up to the Christmas holidays. “We expect to open up because we know that there is maximum opportunity for our markets to recover from the slowdown of the economy,” he added.

The DTI is tasked to re-categorized all industries that may be covered by the latest IATF order.

The other night, the IATF authorized the DTI to adjust the permissible on-site operational capacities of all business establishments and/or activities under GCQ or lower.

Apart from malls and shopping establishments, the IATF said increased activities are also allowed in barber shops, salons and other personal care services, at a maximum capacity of 50 percent; dine-in restaurants at 50 percent seating capacity; accredited hotels and accommodation establishments, among others.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the DTI pushed for allowing the conduct of mall wide sales.

“I was the one that proposed that to generate back more foot traffic and restimulate consumer demand,” he said.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Benedicto Yujuico said mall wide sale events would help the economy.

Philippine Retailers Association president Rosemarie Ong said the government’s decision is aligned with the group’s call to consumers to help the economy and business establishments by spending if they can afford it.

Consumer group Laban Konsyumer Inc. president Victorio Dimagiba said that if measures to promote health and safety are enforced consistently, the conduct of sales might help bring back consumer spending in the retail market.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism has been given leeway to determine the operation capacity of hotel and accommodation establishments and ancilliary establishments.

McDonald’s testing

McDonald’s Philippines has partnered with the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) for an initiative to test more than 19,000 employees of the fast food chain to promote health and safety amid the pandemic.

Under the partnership, the aim is to test McDonald’s crew and managers in mega swabbing facilities at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippine Arena in Sta. Maria in Bulacan, Lakeshore Bicutan in Taguig and Palacio de Maynila in Manila.

McDonald’s Philippines will also donate three testing booths to Pasig City.

Apart from supporting testing initiatives, McDonald’s Philippines had earlier committed to use the StaySafe.ph app for contact tracing.

“The safety of our employees and customers has always been at the core of our operating culture. It is because of this that we continue to explore and partner with the government and the private sector to keep the public safe. We believe that more than ever, we have to come together to fight this pandemic, to restart the economy safely and protect the employment of more Filipinos,” McDonald’s Philippines president and chief executive officer Kenneth Yang said.

“Through this expanded testing program which we are launching today, you shall not only be ensuring the health and safety of your employees, but also their families and those they come in close contact with every day,” NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

For his part, NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said the move to test their employees would help strengthen the government’s testing and contact tracing program.

Under its M Safe program, the fast food firm has assigned a safety manager in all 640 McDonald’s stores in the country.

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