The Department of Trade and Industry is recommending the opening of hair salons and indoor dining services to accompany the easing of restrictions attached to the new ‘flexible’ quarantine classification in the NCR Plus bubble, which starts May 1. 

On Thursday (April 29), the DTI announced its intent to endorse the limited opening of the said commercial establishments to dampen unemployment in the Greater Manila regions, which includes Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna. 

According to the government agency, unemployment has reached 1 million in regions within the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) zones, which was implemented on April 12.

DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said the reopening of select establishments – particularly barbershops, salons, and restaurants – will see a total of 500,000 Filipino workers employed once again. 

However, only 50 percent of venue capacity will be allowed for operation.

“Ang recommendation kasi ni [DTI] Secretary [Ramon] Lopez is to ease up a little bit, ‘yong magdagdag tayo ng mga negosyo, lalo na iyong mga labor intensive talaga na puwede namang sundin ‘yong mandatory health protocols natin,” Castelo said in an interview with PTV. 

The recommendation is set to be forwarded to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), who will be convening later today.

The new ‘hybrid MECQ’ classification for the NCR Plus region will last for another two weeks – until May 14 – President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Wednesday. 

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