Only less than 100,000 displaced workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) will remain jobless, but some 300,000 employees are returning to work with the further easing of restrictions and reopening of more establishments at higher operating capacity starting Friday, Oct. 16.

“With most of the remaining economic sectors, particularly the service sectors to be reopened in Metro Manila and at higher operating capacities because also of the de-escalation to Alert Level 3, we expect most of the balance 300,000 displaced workers to be back to work,” said Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. The Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has eased NCR to Alert Level 3 starting Oct. 16 to October 31 from the current Alert Level 4.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

This means, he said, a minimal or less than 100,000 workers will remain out of work for those remaining closed sectors such as live entertainment/karaoke bars, kids amusement centers and playgrounds.

“We are not yet back to pre-pandemic because it is not yet 100 percent of pre-pandemic. We are still more of similar to a general community quarantine of before and a lot better than an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) situation,” he added.

Comparatively, Lopez said there were an estimated 1.8 million displaced workers under the ECQ, where the share of NCR was around one million.

In terms of percentage of establishments that are still closed, Lopez said the DTI is going to conduct another survey to factor in the new reopenings. But the best case under the previous GCQ was about 4 percent of establishments were closed, he said.

Under Alert Level 3, business establishments or economic activities are allowed higher operating capacity at a maximum of 30 percent for indoor venue for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50 percent for outdoor venue, provided there is no objection from the local government units where these activities may take place.

The allowed economic activities include venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions; permitted venues for social events (parties, weddings, debut, birthday, family reunion); visitor or tourist attractions (libraries, museums, galleries, parks, plazas, exhibits, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, etc); amusement or theme parks; recreational venues (internet cafes, billiard halls, arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools); cinemas and movie houses; dine-in services in restaurants, commissaries, eateries subject to DTI sector-specific protocols; personal care establishments (barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, nail spas,, aesthetic/cosmetic services, reflexology including home service options); fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports subject to sector-specific guidelines; limited face to face for higher education and for technical vocation education and training; in person religious, gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than Covid and for the remains of the COVID-19 deceased; and, film, music and television product subject to the joint guidelines as may be issued by the DTI, Department of Health and Department of Labor and Employment.

Source: Manila Bulletin (