DTI: “Vaccine pass” should not be mandatory

(Photo by Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the “vaccine pass” being pushed by some groups from the business sector should not be mandatory or make it a form of an incentive to establishments.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez is reacting to the proposal of Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (RestoPH) President Eric Teng for the government to provide a pass or identification to those who were already inoculated with Covid 19 vaccines, seen to increase the traffic for restaurant customers.

“We are already studying all these proposals. We suggest that if ever, the vaccine card or ID pass ay gawing insentibo. Either magkaroon ng extra discount or pwede na silang umupo ng harapan ngayong pang lumabas ‘yung mga over 65 years. Baka mapayagan naman, ipakita lang ‘yung pass,” according to Lopez.

Teng said they are asking for a vaccine pass to allow senior citizens who were vaccinated to come out and be allowed to dine in restaurants.

“It will also help the government to help increase the capacity of dine-in restaurants to 50% capacity,” he said, noting that their group is pushing for it as they are still grappling with the current adverse effects of the pandemic due to the ever-changing quarantine classifications being imposed by the government.

Recently, Teng also said that besides revenue losses, he stressed that they are also worried over the impact of current quarantine rules on indoor dining and on how the public perceives it.

“Definitely, short-term losses [are] of course guaranteed almost. But I’m more worried about the long-term stigma of what the public would feel or think about indoor dining,” Teng disclosed in a television interview.

Teng maintained that the dine-in industry is generally safe, especially inside malls, given how there are plenty of safety checks around from the mall entrance to the entrance of each restaurant.

“Restaurants, I can consider as safe zones. But of course, the public may have a different perception after all this gets normalized,” Teng said, noting that banning dine-ins only shifted the demand to other venues like home parties, which are considered super-spreader events.

Discriminatory

Meanwhile, labor group Defend Jobs Philippines finds the proposal “discriminatory,” especially to those who don’t have access to vaccines.

“We are seeing discrimination because imagine, you will not be allowed to enter the restaurant if you don’t have the pass. I think this will not be first pondered by the government. What should the government do is to provide more vaccines to Filipinos, especially the economic front liners,” according to Christian Lloyd Magsoy of Defend Jobs PH.

The government has been saying that more vaccines will be coming into the country in the coming months, especially in the last quarter of the year.

Starting 15 May, the government has put the National Capital Region Plus (NCR+) under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.

Under the new scheme, allowed to go out are persons under 18 to 65-year-old. Only essential travel in and out of NCR Plus will be allowed.

Dine-in restaurants are still allowed to operate but with 20% capacity, while 50% capacity for outdoor or alfresco dine-in.

Other features of the GCQ with heightened restrictions are 30% capacity for outdoor tourist sites; 10% capacity for religious gatherings, assemblies for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals; and 30% capacity for personal care services which do not require the removal of masks, like salons, parlors, and beauty clinics.

mje

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Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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