WHILE they understood the local government’s move to immediately contain the spread of the Covid-19, enforcing the “no vaccination, no entry” policy in malls and other establishments will further ruin the opportunity of businesses to fully recover from both the pandemic and the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

In an interview, Rey Calooy, chairman of Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc., said the government has to strike the balance between safeguarding public health and helping the economy recover.

“Businesses, especially those that belong in the medium, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector are still struggling to get back on their feet from the wrath of Typhoon Odette. I think that this ‘no vaccination, no entry’ policy will further bring us down,” said Calooy, whose business organization represents the MSME sector in Cebu.

“Businesses are looking for customers both vaccinated and unvaccinated to survive. We don’t discriminate against them and we do continue to follow the mandated health protocols,” Calooy said, noting that MSMEs have already learned the lessons in the past and the consequences that come with it should they become lenient in enforcing the health protocols.

Calooy also argued that it isn’t the job of business owners to check on unvaccinated individuals. “It’s their (the government and the agencies) job to vaccinate people. Businesses shouldn’t be used in their campaign for unvaccinated individuals to get their shots. Our job is to help the economy run.”

Calooy went on to explain that if businesses struggle and they needed help there is not enough financial assistance available for everyone. He said the sector is left on its own to survive.

Business owner Robert Go also agreed with Calooy saying that the “no vaccination, no entry” policy might not help businesses in these challenging times.

“This is difficult to implement. This will discourage shoppers to come into any store. Although this is good for everyone especially to the frontline retailers this is difficult to implement especially in specialty shops,” said Go.

“This policy can be good for restaurants and coffee shops since people tend to take off their face masks and start talking and eating and drinking. This is where the infection starts. But this will be difficult to implement in other stores, like supermarkets.”

What the local government can do now is to ramp up the vaccination drive and encourage more people to get vaccinated, said Calooy.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama implemented on January 19, 2022, the “no vaccination, no entry” policy in malls and other indoor shops or establishments in Cebu City.

People are now required to present their vaccination cards before entering establishments as a move by the City to limit the movements of people due to the surge of Covid-19.