MILK TEA, ANYONE? As many businesses closed shop due to the impact of Covid-19, HelloKitTea Garden strives to weather the pandemic's effect through using every means available to survive and provide employment to its workers. Catz Alejo, one of the owners of the shop, believes that they will be able to survive the pandemic and business will be good again once a vaccine against Covid-19 becomes available. (Photo courtesy of HelloKitTea Garden Facebook page)

MANILA – The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health crisis may have spelled disaster for the economy but many Filipinos still have the natural resilient spirit and resourcefulness in making ends meet and even rising amid the pandemic.

Business owner Catz Alejo, one of the two owners of Hello KitTea Garden, is using every means available to ensure that her business will survive the present crisis.

As dine-in services were either banned or limited due to quarantine restrictions, Alejo said her milk tea business has been surviving thanks to online delivery services.

"We are surviving due to Grab and LalaFood if not for them, we would have closed shop a long time ago," Catz said in a mix of English and Filipino in an interview Monday.

She is also very thankful that the health crisis failed to dampen the "milk tea craze" as customers continue to patronize their products.

Compared to now, Catz admitted that sales were very good before Covid-19, adding that HelloKitTea Garden formally took wing on June 8, 2019.

"Sales before the Covid-19 pandemic ranged from PHP8,000 to PHP12, 000 daily. Now, we're lucky to get PHP2,000 to PHP4,000," she said.

While this is just enough to recover all of their operating expenses, Catz said what is important is that they are able to survive while still providing employment.

"Matira matibay. Kailangan lng talaga harapin ngayon na may problema pero di susuko. Para na rin sa mga tao namin nabibigyan namin sila ng trabaho. Ang importante kasi ngayon matulungan namin ang mga tao namin at matulungan nila kami makilala shop namin (It is really a survival of the fittest. We have to face the problem now but we cannot just give up. We are also doing this to provide employment for our people. What is important is for us to be able to help and for them to also help us promote our shop)," she said.

Prior to the pandemic, she added that they have four people manning their milk tea shop in Urduja Village, Caloocan City.

In compliance with the government's health and safety protocols, Alejo said they only have three people left and not all of them are required to report daily.

In fact, only one is present at the store daily while the other two are rotating on shifts.

She also believes the pandemic will not be here forever and that business will rebound once a cure or vaccine is developed and made available to the public.

Alejo added that she cannot afford to let down their customers who have grown fond of their milk teas and other foods they are serving.

The Department of Trade and Industry is also calling on Filipinos to help local businesses survive the health crisis by patronizing their products. (PNA)