MANILA, July 24 (Mabuhay) — An official of the National Economic Development Authority said Friday that the economy is still in a better position despite the 7-day reimposition of GCQ with heightened restrictions in Metro Manila.

During state-run PTV’s Laging Handa briefing, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said that the country is in “different situation compared [to what] we had in April” since the vaccine supplies are arriving and the healthcare system is in place.

Edillon made the remark after the government placed the National Capital Region under GCQ “with heightened restrictions” from July 23 to 31, a day after the Department of Health confirmed a local transmission of the Delta coronavirus variant.

Aside from Metro Manila, other areas that will be under GCQ with heightened restrictions include Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro.

Edillon said the seven-day restrictions will “buy time so we could increase our healthcare capacity.”

“Malaking bagay din itong seven days na ito para mag-accelerate ang vaccine rollout para hindi magkaroon ng surge (The seven-day restriction is also an opportunity to accelerate the vaccine rollout to prevent another surge),” she said.

Also, the NEDA official said there is still a “silver lining” despite the arrival of the Delta variant in the country since vaccine doses are continuously coming.

Under GCQ with heightened restrictions, personal care services are allowed to operate at 30% capacity as long as they are not requiring mask removal. If establishments have a Safety Seal, they may operate with an additional 10% the capacity.

Outdoor tourist attractions are also allowed but only at 30% capacity.

Likewise, staycation hotels are allowed to operate for up to 100% venue capacity while other government-accredited establishments may operate at 30% capacity.

There are no age restrictions for staycations.

Indoor dining is allowed at 20% capacity, while outdoor dining is allowed at 50%.

Indoor dining may increase by 10% capacity if the establishment has Safety Seal.

Edillon urged businesses to continue with “COVID-proofing” of their establishments, workplaces, and processes with the strict implementation of minimum health standards and “going digital.”

She said the economy is in a better situation compared to the same period last year, “mas relaxed ang quarantine restrictions (we have more relaxed quarantine restrictions).”

Moreover, the NEDA official said 2021 will be a better year than last year due to the government’s vaccine rollout.

The Duterte administration is projecting the economy to grow by 6 – 7% this year, a turnaround from the 9.5% contraction in 2020, the worst on record since the end of World War 2. (MNS)

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