Traders worry over new NCR restriction

LOCAL businesses in Cebu are bracing for an “unpredictable” fourth quarter as the country’s capital goes into Alert Level 4 under general community quarantine (GCQ) on Thursday, Sept. 16, affecting micro, small and medium businesses.

According to Filipino Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy, 70 percent of the country’s economic activity comes from greater Luzon and may affect the neighboring regions.

“They are the head, and we are the tail here. We are still affected in terms of business because other Cebu businesses have branches or main offices in Manila,” he told SunStar Cebu.

Calooy said the region will be affected in terms of flights and sea travel that might disrupt cargo movement of consumer goods.

“We are facing a very unpredictable and uncertain situation. The situations are always fluctuating, and even if December gives hope for the Christmas season, we still don’t know,” he said.

Calooy said some of their older members chose to temporarily close shop as they continue monitoring the situation.

Other younger members continue to pivot to deliveries and online selling to survive.

“They knew how to set up their products with Grab and Foodpanda,” he said.

Some of the business owners, he said, are already tired of the evolving community quarantine statuses.

“Imagine a business owner saving up their income so they could hopefully reopen and they buy perishable stocks and suddenly the government declares a lockdown. If you’re sure that the situation is unsure, temporary closure is viable,” he said.

To help ailing local businesses in Cebu, Calooy renewed the call for consumers to support locally made products.

Calooy said consumers should look for local products made in Cebu and they should buy from them to keep the jobs and operations going.

“We have been calling on consumers long ago to patronize our local products. These products generate local employment. So buy your rice, fruits, vegetables from your local sellers and look for the place where they’re manufactured. It is good for the local economy,” he said.

Cebu and Mandaue Cities are under GCQ while Lapu-Lapu City is under GCQ with heightened restrictions from Sept. 8-30. (JOB)