In adherence to the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte placing the city under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Mayor Edgardo Labella on Thursday issued guidelines to be followed by business establishments that are allowed to open in full operational capacity.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced Wednesday night that Duterte downgraded the quarantine classification of the city to MECQ from July 16 to 31 in a televised meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Labella admitted that the city’s resources are drying up after more than three months of managing the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis but added that: “We will make do; we can still find ways about it”.
“We are gravely affected. The city is really affected because of constant supplying of food to our constituents. We can still do something,” the mayor said.
In his Executive Order (EO) No. 84, Labella allowed certain industries and sectors to operate in full operational capacity “provided they comply with the minimum health standards and safety protocols at all times”.
The effort, he said, is to revive the city’s economy while still enforcing strict quarantine measures in villages.
Public and private hospitals, health, emergency and front-line services including dialysis and chemotherapy centers are now allowed to fully operate along with the medicine and vitamin manufacturers, suppliers and distributors.
Food-related industries and those that are involved in agriculture and fishery and establishments engaged in provisioning of essential goods and services are allowed to operate in full swing but manufacturers of beverages such as alcoholic and soda drinks are allowed only a 50-percent operational capacity.
Malls and shopping centers are also now allowed to open in limited operational capacity. However, leisure establishments and services in malls are still not given the green light.
“Those below 21 years old and those 60 years old and above and those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity or other health risks and pregnant women, including any persons who reside with them may not enter malls and shopping centers” except when necessary, the EO said.
Banks, money transfer services, pawnshops, veterinary stores, and cooperatives are also permitted to open in full scale but real estate, recruitment and placement as well as computer programming businesses are allowed only at a half operational scale.
Under MECQ, media entities in the city can operate in full coverage and production capacity. However, advertising, printing and publishing services are limited only to operate with 50-percent capacity.
While the city is still in strict quarantine classification, Labella is still not keen on easing public transportation restrictions.
However, the EO will not require cargo vehicle drivers and operators of public utility companies, business processing outsourcing and export-related establishments to submit to the city’s identification (ID) system to ensure their unhampered movement “at all times”.
Melquiades Feliciano, IATF-EID-Visayas chief implementer, cited “significant gains” in the last three weeks of overseeing aggressive interventions to address Covid-19 contagion in the city.
Feliciano, who assisted Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in supervising enforcement of quarantine protocols, said the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has played a key role in unifying Covid-19 efforts among government agencies and other stakeholders.
“There is now a system that is being followed by the EOC, especially on the referral system at the barangay level. This is very important, to (be able to) give the immediate health care program to probable Covid patients,” Feliciano said.
In a statement, Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Department of Health-Central Visayas regional director, said the city has seen an improvement in terms of its critical care utilization rate, or the number of occupied beds and facilities dedicated to patients under critical care.
“We used to be in the 87 to 89 (percent) level, but now we are at 72 percent or lower,” Bernadas said. (PNA)