CEBU CITY – A business group here opposed another lockdown amid the rising cases of COVID-19.
Felix Taguiam, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said the Cebu economy can no longer afford another lockdown.
“We really have to open up now. We cannot keep on staying at home forever,” said Taguiam in a virtual forum organized by the Cebu Citizens Initiative Thursday.
Taguiam said allowing consumers to go out is badly needed but they must follow the minimum health protocols.
“Wearing of masks, face shields, observing social distancing, and washing of hands should be strictly observed,” Taguiam said.
Taguiam said COVID-19 cases may have been rising but “we all have to learn, we have to live with COVID whether you like it or not.”
He said balancing the health and economy is important, saying the economy will fail if there is no consumer confidence.
The CCCI has been encouraging business owners to discipline their own ranks and ensure that health protocols are strictly observed.
The CCCI president noted that at least 80 percent of businesses in the Cebu economy have opened.
“But as what we may all know, of this 80 percent in the economy that are open, consumer confidence and spending are still low because everybody has a notion that they will be infected if they go out,” he said.
Taguiam said the micro, small and medium enterprises were the most badly hit by the pandemic.
He said the business community did not expect that the effects of the pandemic will not last long after a lockdown was implemented on March 23 last year.
“What the pandemic has done, as we all know, has hit us so hard and so fast that we never thought that it will last this long,” he said.
Cases may be rising now but it will be eventually contained, Taguiam said.
“We were able to beat COVID in the third and fourth quarter of 2020 and we can do it again now,” he said.