‘Tiny bubbles,’ that proposal intended to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) but still keep the economy going, has been percolating for a while.
At the same time, the retailers are asking for expedited vaccine deliveries as the industry is running out of cash reserves after three major lockdowns since March 2020.
MANILA — Some business and government officials have been proposing vaccine ‘bubbles’ or sectors where people vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can move freely.
“We in PRA (Philippine Retailers Association) fully support the call to increase mobility, to keep our economy moving, to reopen the different business establishments as we of course continue to implement stricter health protocols in our health establishments,” says PRA President Rosemarie B. Ong said during a virtual briefing.
“The retail industry—stores, fast-food and restaurants—are on a verge of collapse,” says PRA Vice-Chairman Roberto S. Claudio.
He laments the “retailers have lost 85 to 90 percent of our pre-pandemic levels.”
Mr Claudio points out, lockdowns and minimal customer foot traffic have depleted cash reserves, noting that online sales have accounted for just 8 to 15 percent of total store revenue.
“The answer to this problem is not the gamut of selecting on who can enter our establishments (vaccinated or not, 10 percent or 30 percent capacity, seniors or children, etc.). We can come out with many suggestions, but this will not address the retailers’ main problem, which is lack of customers,” he explains.
Mr Claudio has expressed support to the imposition of granular or localized lockdowns for areas with higher COVID-19 infection rates.
He points out the need for the Government to accelerate its vaccination rollout.
“Rush (the) delivery dates of vaccines ordered to be delivered as soon as possible, even if the Government have to pay extra cost,” says Mr Claudio. “Allow private sector to acquire vaccines directly to vaccinate our employees.” (JD/The MiNT)