The COVID-19 pandemic grew exponentially in the Philippines. In an effort to stop the spread and flatten the curve of positive cases, the government introduced strict COVID-related rules. Earlier this year, in March and April, the country has seen significant spikes of COVID cases, surpassing 10,000 cases per day.
Philippine Businesses Have Been through a Rough Year
At the start of the summer, cases have somewhat decreased but still kept a high daily number varying between 5,000-8,000 cases. Undoubtedly, August and September were the most difficult months for the Philippines. While positive COVID cases grew in August, they hit their highest recorded value in September. Early in September, the country recorded its highest number of positive cases for one day – 26,208 on September 11.
After that, cases have gradually started to decrease. As a result, in October, the country reduced its Alert Level from level 4 to level 3. Closed since August, casinos in the country were allowed to reopen for visitors in October. However, to operate safely, the gambling venues had to implement a 30% capacity cap. Along with casinos, the country allowed tourist attractions, restaurants, sports venues and other businesses to reopen as well. Similar to casinos, all those businesses had to implement a 30% capacity cap.
Alert Level 2 Allows Casinos to Operate under 50% Capacity
The decreasing number of cases resulted in another ease of restrictions for the Philippines. Early in November, the country decreased its Alert Level from 3 to 2. This enabled casinos to increase their capacity. Other businesses such as restaurants have also increased their visitor capacities.
Although positive COVID cases have been decreasing for three months in a row, it seems that the government will not ease restrictions any further. A prime reason why the Philippines may likely keep its Alert Level 2 is the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. With that in mind, positive cases continue to decrease. On Monday this week, the country recorded some 235 cases, which marks the lowest number of positive cases recorded since May last year. On the other hand, the Philippines has recorded a total of 2.8 million positive COVID-19 cases and 50,449 COVID-related deaths.
Currently, Alert Level 2 allows 50% capacity for casinos, as well as betting shops and other entertainment venues. On the other hand, bars, theaters, tourist attractions and other recreational businesses are allowed to operate at 50% capacity. It is important to mention that visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.