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Rethink vague alert level guidelines, IATF urged

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Joey Concepcion on vaccines

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The vague guidelines for indoor activities of business establishments in areas under alert levels 2 and 3 can pose a risk both to unvaccinated customers and employees, according to Joey Concepcion, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship.

In a letter addressed to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Concepcion called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to revisit the guidelines of the new alert level system.

Under the current scheme, only fully vaccinated individuals can participate in indoor activities of businesses under alert level 4. But in the guidelines for alert levels 2 and 3, the qualifying conditions are not specified.

“We have to be consistent and extend privileges for the fully vaccinated across all alert levels as the goal is to reopen safely. If we reach alert level 1 where it is deemed safe, then anyone can freely move. But if there are risks, let’s protect those who have not received the vaccine,” Concepcion said.

The Go Negosyo founder also asked the government to consider allowing only fully vaccinated people to do indoor business transactions in areas under alert levels 4 to 2 and also strengthen the capacity of businesses authorized to operate.

Concepcion earlier suggested that indoor businesses, including dining and personal care services, be allowed to accept more fully vaccinated customers as soon as the areas are placed under alert levels 2 and 3.

In the current guidelines for areas under alert level 2, establishments for dine-in, personal care, entertainment, mass gatherings, and other indoor activities are allowed to operate at a maximum capacity of 50 percent.

For those in alert level 3, indoor dine-in, personal care, and other recreational activities are authorized to operate at a maximum 30-percent capacity.

“We can increase the capacity even further for the fully vaccinated as we move to lower alert levels. A higher percentage means more chances for the businesses to gain back months’ worth of losses so they can pay back their financial obligations,” Concepcion said.

He further added that providing more access to the fully vaccinated will help in the economic recovery. “In this way, we can capture the safe reopening of the economy while preventing surge of cases brought by unvaccinated individuals,” he said. INQ

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