THE restrictions under the recently concluded modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu dealt a huge blow on the already embattled business industry in Cebu.
According to Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu, the recent MECQ, which lasted 38 days, caused retail businesses to temporarily close and further burdened micro, small and medium businesses.
“About 30 percent of retail businesses temporarily closed their shops for the duration of the MECQ, and losses heightened for 90 percent of the MSMEs,” he told SunStar Cebu.
The MECQ, which started on Aug. 1 and ended on Sept. 7, also further affected the foot traffic in commercial centers.
On top of the restrictions, Yu said consumers also have low confidence due to diminished purchasing power and general fear of the coronavirus.
“We have to continue with our efforts to vaccinate more people and provide incentives and privileges to vaccinated individuals,” he said.
Through this, business owners are hoping it will help boost consumer confidence to go out and spend, and in the process, help revive the economy.
“We hope that as we go into general community quarantine (GCQ), the economy will be slowly revived in preparation for the fourth quarter holiday season,” he said.
For Sept. 8-30, Lapu-Lapu City has eased to the less restrictive GCQ with heightened restrictions; and Cebu and Mandaue, to the even more relaxed GCQ.
Consumer spending will likely increase in the fourth quarter as Filipinos spend more during the Christmas season. Retail players consider the fourth quarter one of their busiest seasons whose effects still spill over to the early quarter of the following year.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam said the MECQ was an “eye-opener” for everyone.
“Our Oplan Puyo is really effective in bringing down the reported cases. Although the business sector has been greatly affected, all sorts of businesses either large, medium, small or micro, have their own share of situations and hardships,” he said.
With the ongoing GCQ, Taguiam hoped both business owners and consumers would help each other.
“We cannot endure more hardships as we are now in the fourth quarter. We should have a better and more prepared safe opening of our economy,” he said. (JOB)