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Small business owners in Pangasinan are pleased with the relaxation of Covid-19 regulations.

Small company owners in this area are hopeful about sales due to more liberal movement restrictions and often higher demand during the end-of-year holidays.

The quarantine imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 has impeded most businesses’ operations since the pandemic began in the first quarter of 2020. (Covid-19).

Following a decline in the number of Covid-19 infections, the government lifted movement restrictions in the last quarter of 2021, with most parts of the country placed on Alert Level 2.

Since roughly mid-November this year, Pangasinan, among other places, has been under this degree of alert.

More individuals were able to leave their houses and enjoy the outdoors, notably by visiting malls and other comparable facilities.

The more people allowed to leave their houses, says Saima Manungcarang, 36, a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW), the better for their ready-to-wear (RTW) company in a bazaar along Romulo Highway.

She has been working abroad since 2009, and her most recent position was as a salon employee. She returned home in July 2020, during the height of the pandemic, after contracting Covid-19 in Saudi Arabia.

“Nagka-Covid ako, walang sahod kaya umuwi nalang ako,” she said in an interview on Wednesday. “I contracted Covid and didn’t receive a wage, so I chose to just go home.”

Mubarak Abdullah Lacsaman, her husband, has been in the RTW business since 2017, regularly attending bazaars in Pangasinan during fiestas (a religious festival).

The pair, who married in February this year, grew up in Mindanao but chose Pangasinan as their company location “because sales are better here,” she explained.

“Mas maganda noong wala pang Covid,” says the narrator. It’s better if there isn’t any Covid at all (It’s better if there isn’t any Covid at all). “Sales aren’t even half of what they were before,” Lacsaman remarked.

Prior to the epidemic, he said that monthly net sales ranged from PHP15,000 to PHP20,000.

“Ngayon ang kinikita lang pangkain at pambayad sa pwesto,” he continued, “now we simply make enough for daily sustenance and rent.”

The pair rents two bazaar spots, each measuring 6 by 5 meters, for PHP500 per day.

Last September, the pair began their commercial operations in this municipality, which is considered by many Filipinos to be the start of the Christmas season.

Lacsaman said they have a lot of cousins throughout Pangasinan who are in the same business, and they only stay in a place for two to three months at a time because they only go to bazaars during fiestas.

He did say, however, that because the space they are presently renting is owned by a mall, they have decided to make Mangatarem their permanent location, but that this is still subject to mall management’s approval.

He claims that sales are stronger during the Christmas season than during fiestas because people have more money.

“Nagi-ipon talaga ang mga tao para makabili ng mga bagong gamit para sa kanila at para may pangregalo hindi tulad pag fiesta na yung may pera lang ang nakakabili (People truly save to buy new things for themselves and to have some savings to buy gifts),” he continued.

According to Ferdinand Fernandez, 51, a popcorn vendor, revenues are up this year compared to last year due to fewer limitations on movement.

However, he stated that sales are still not up to pre-pandemic levels since, while people have begun to go out, many workers have lost their jobs, resulting in budgetary restraints.

His net sales were around PHP1,000 over the end-of-year holidays, but are currently around PHP500.

The fact that village officials only ask for a PHP10 daily charge from street sellers is a “positive thing,” according to Fernandez.

“Mahina pa rin po ang kita kaya buti na lang at may tindahan kami sa bahay (Sales are still modest, so it’s a good thing we have a small business at home),” he explained.

Fernandez is married and the father of three married children.

Fernandez said he and his wife are grateful for the PHP8,500 they received from the government during the pandemic because they used the money to start a small business that has kept them afloat until today.

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