As the government further eased restrictions despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the OCTA Research group acknowledged that the economy should keep on rolling, but it noted that minimum health standard protocols must be observed to prevent further infections.
“Naintindihan naman natin, kailangan naman talaga ma-stimulate ang economy natin at this point in time. Ang kailangan, sumunod lang tayo sa mga minimum health standards (We understand that we really need to stimulate our economy at this point in time. All we need to do is comply with the minimum health standards),” Dr. Butch Ong of OCTA Research group said during the Laging Handa press briefing on Saturday, Feb. 13.
Ong noted that preventive measures for venues and facilities that the group has recommended such as proper ventilations, wearing of face masks and face shields, and the 50-percent-capacity rule for confined spaces must be strictly observed.
“Kung makukuha naman natin lahat ng ito, posible naman talaga na mag open yung mga facilities to make the wheels of commerce moving (If we can get all this, it is really possible for the facilities to open to make the wheels of commerce moving),” he said.
According to Ong, the reproduction rate or the number of people getting infected with the coronavirus hovered within the 1.0 range since January, meaning one infected person can only infect one more other person.
“We are in a precarious balance ngayon. Maaring umusbong pataas yung number of cases or maaring bumaba naman depende (The number of cases may increase or decrease depending) on how we implement the minimum health standards,” he said.
He noted that venue managers must strictly promote and implement the health standards in their facilities to prevent more infections
“Medyo steady tayo (We are currently on a steady ground) since the start of January and to decide now to open commerce and industry, we must be more vigilant ngayon,” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Friday, February 12, allowed the reopening of traditional cinemas in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) at 50 percent capacity.
Operations driving schools, game arcades, libraries, museums, and cultural centers have also been expanded.
The IATF also approved the reopening of limited tourist attractions such as parks, theme parks, natural sites, and historical landmarks.