THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it will propose the removal of plastic barriers in places of business in response to the reduction in the case count for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a radio interview on Wednesday that the DTI plans to ask the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to allow establishments operate without acrylic barriers.

The DTI view is in line with the recommendation of Metro Manila mayors to shift the capital region to the more relaxed Alert Level 1 by March 1. Currently, the National Capital Region is observing Alert Level 2.

Acrylic barriers have been installed on restaurant tables and other businesses requiring indoor interaction as a measure to maintain social distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Ang isa naming kinokonsider na pagtanggal whether mag-move tayo sa Alert Level 1 o hindi ay ’yung mga acrylic barriers. Puwede nang tanggalin ’yan. Ipo-propose natin sa IATF. Puwede na nating hindi i-require ’yan kasi ang importante ay naka-mask ’yung tao (The things we are considering (include) to remove the plastic barrier requirement and whether we should move to Alert Level 1. It may be time to remove them, which we will propose to the IATF. The important thing is that people wear masks),” Mr. Lopez said.  

Under Alert Level 1, businesses will be permitted to operate at 100% capacity as long as minimum public health standards are followed. Intrazonal and interzonal travel will also be allowed regardless of age and comorbidities.

Alert Level 2 allows businesses to operate at 50% indoor capacity and 70% outdoor capacity.

Mr. Lopez said a circular will be issued detailing measures to ensure better ventilation at business establishments, which may include the use of air purifiers, HEPA air conditioning filters, plus a recommendation to open windows.

Mr. Lopez said temperature checks should remain despite the looming change in protocols for business establishments, in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lopez said requiring booster cards before allowing entry could become a requirement once more people get their booster shots.

Ang definition natin kasi ng fully vaccinated ay ’yung two doses. So, ’pag dumating na ’yung time na marami nang na-booster shot maybe that can be a new requirement in the future, hindi ngayon (Our definition of fully vaccinated is two doses. So, when the time comes when many receive booster shots, maybe that can be a new requirement in the future, not now).” — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave