Abalos wants more businesses to open in NCR next month


With the general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions is set to lapse this May 31 in NCR Plus, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos wants more businesses in the capital region to open by next month to help the economy to slowly recover.


NCR Plus is composed of the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Rizal, which are all under GCQ with heightened restrictions until the end of May.


Abalos said in a television interview on Wednesday that data on coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases and hospital capacity in NCR are better compared to that of March and April, which justifies the opening of more businesses in the region by next month.


“So for me personally, I think we can open up more businesses and study the capacity itself. Because right now we are in GCQ with heightened restrictions. Probably, maybe we can make less strict the restrictions in terms of capacity,” he said partly in Filipino.


Under the current GCQ with heightened restrictions imposed in NCR and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna, indoor dine-in services are allowed at 20-percent seating capacity, while outdoor or al fresco dining is allowed at 50-percent capacity.


The 30-percent capacity is allowed in outdoor tourist attractions, and personal care services that do not require removal of face masks like salons, parlors, and beauty clinics.


Abalos said mayors from NCR will be meeting this week to also determine a change in the curfew hours, which is currently from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.


NCR currently accounts for 37.5 percent of Philippine gross domestic product (GDP), while Region 4A or Calabarzon accounts for 14.8 percent. Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are part of Region 4A.

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