Concepcion: Mall and building owners support ‘safe spaces,’ targets 80% herd immunity in workplaces

Published July 6, 2021, 3:58 PM

by MB Business

In a meeting with the country’s major mall and building owners, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion garnered support for his proposal to champion and to finally establish “safe spaces” as a means to create herd immunity in areas where the private sector has control like office buildings, factories, mall, etc. This so-called ‘safe spaces’ means achieving around 80% fully vaccinated people in buildings and workplaces to bring back its operational capacity from the current 50% to close to full capacity. Various suggestions were brought forward in the said meeting which includes President and CEO of Filinvest Land Inc. Josephine Yap, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SM Prime Hans Sy, Chairman of Ayala Property Management Corp. Bobby Dy, CEO of Alliance Global Inc. Kevin Tan, President and CEO of Robinsons Land Corp. Frederick Go, and Senior Vice President For Mixed-Use, HRB/Niche and Retail of Filinvest Land Inc. Joey Santos.

“We would like to propose to the government to allow us to implement safe spaces with an increased workforce capacity as soon as we reach 80% vaccination or herd immunity in our respective buildings. Creating safe spaces will allow us to stop transmission, the spread of new variants, and even indirectly provide immunity to the unvaccinated. We want to send a clear message that workspaces are ‘safe spaces.’ We are also currently working on a roadmap that will set the milestones for our economic recovery, that’s why we are discussing ideas such as safe spaces, among other ideas, as we would integrate this into our roadmap which will give the picture of how our economy could move as we achieve population protection then herd immunity,” Concepcion said.

Mall and building owners in a meeting with Go Negosyo and its advisers discussing “Safe Spaces” and other recommendations that can be put on the roadmap being formed by the private sector to kickstart the economy.

Concepcion firmly believes that this will eventually help kickstart the economy, as the entire country is currently highly expectant of fully recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic amid streamlined vaccination rollouts.

As Concepcion mentioned, safe spaces provide an additional layer of safety for everyone and allows private establishments to optimize their operation. “We are still under the consultation stage and safe spaces is just one of the ideas being floated around as we expect to achieve population protection by September/October in NCR Plus. We are looking at safe spaces as a private sector initiative that could be adopted at the discretion of the owners of the establishments—buildings, malls, factories, etc.”

Expecting greater transportation needs as establishments start to adopt safe spaces, Bobby Dy suggested that the current limitation on our country’s public transportation may be eased, following the influx of people that safe spaces may bring once already in effect. He added that the demand for mobility that safe spaces may bring must be efficiently met by also allowing increased capacity on the country’s public transportation. 

Mall owners are currently proactively allowing their establishments to be used as vaccine centers, partnering with various LGUs and advocacy groups like Go Negosyo. Echoing mall owners that are part of this initiative, Hans Sy mentioned “this is our part in trying to help our country with the pandemic and the current need for more vaccination facilities.” SM amongst other malls are also active in convincing and encouraging their workers to get vaccinated—with 90% of SM employees already vaccinated.

Following government guidelines and advice, mall and building owners affirmed that they constantly take into account all the suggestions coming from the medical experts in any step they take during the current pandemic. In opening certain entertainment areas like movie theaters, Frederick Go says that it could be considered later on, maybe until we reach herd immunity. Questions on what certain milestones should be achieved for certain age groups of minors to be allowed to go outside and enter malls were also put on the table. Inconclusive at the moment, what is certain right now is that Vaccine Czar Sec. Carlito Galvez is reserving Pfizer doses should the country start inoculating the minors.  “Considering always that the Delta variant is a threat, we must take the vaccine as this is the only way we can defeat Delta. We need to secure our victory against Delta because it is only through this that we can attain population protection by September/October in NCR plus, then herd immunity before the year ends. We need to reach certain milestones so we can operationalize our roadmap which would start our economic revival, save our MSMEs, and enable us to have a Merry Christmas this year and start a great new year in 2022,” Concepcion advocated.

 
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