BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Public transportation was suspended, while there will be limited movements of people in and out of Bacolod City unless for essential purposes after it upgraded its status to modified enhanced community quarantine until the end of this month.
Under Executive Order No. 60 that he issued yesterday, Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the upgrading of the status of the community quarantine is “intended to slow down the rate of local transmissions and to serve as a fundamental reminder to our citizens that both the national and city governments are always concerned about the health of the people.”
Under the MECQ, residents are required to observe strict home quarantine and home quarantine pass to go outside of the house to obtain essential goods and services is needed.
The EO also says that check-up points within the city and along its borders will be implemented to enhance police visibility.
Malls and commercial centers under MECQ shall be allowed to operate for non-leisure businesses only and on a 50 percent operational capacity, while businesses in the essential goods and services sectors, as well as those engaged in providing prime commodities, such as supermarkets, public and private wet markets, grocery stores, agri-fishery supply stores, veterinary supply stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and other retail establishments, are strongly encouraged to extend their daily store operations to a maximum of 12 hours.
The three major public markets – the Central Market, Burgos North Market, and the Libertad South Market – shall still be closed on Sundays for cleaning and sanitation in observance of health protocols and public safety.
Individual outdoor exercises, such as walks, jogging, running or biking are allowed, while face-to-face or in-person classes at all levels shall be suspended for the duration of the MECQ.
Selling of liquor, wine, beer, or any alcoholic or intoxicating beverage shall be allowed from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
While public transportation is prohibited, the EO said commissioned shuttle services for employees of permitted offices or establishments, and point-to-point transport services provided by the government shall be allowed to operate, giving priority to healthcare workers.
Private transportation such as company shuttles and personal vehicles of persons authorized outside their residences are also allowed, subject to the guidelines provided by the Department of Transportation. The use of bikes and other non-motorized transportation is strongly encouraged.
Leisure and recreation outside the home will be restricted, while activities that attract social and large gatherings will be curtailed.
The city will continue to impose the curfew hours from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Business establishments and activities not allowed under MECQ are language, driving, dance/acting/voice schools, entertainment industries (e.g. traditional and drive-in cinemas, theaters, karaoke bars, etc.), libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers, tourist destinations (e.g. water parks, beaches, resorts), travel agencies, tour operators, reservation service and related activities;
Full body massage, tattoo and body piercing, live events subject to the Department of Tourism’s guidelines on Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions and Business Events, holding of traditional cockfighting and operation of cockpits;
Beerhouses and similar establishments whose primary business is serving of alcoholic drinks, like nightclubs, kid amusement industries (e.g. playrooms, rides), non-essential public and private construction projects, barbershops and salons, all other establishments offering personal care and aesthetic procedures and services, gyms/fitness studios and sports facilities, testing, tutorial and review centers, internet cafes, and pet grooming services.
President Rodrigo Duterte Monday night approved the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases recommending MECQ in Bacolod City on Sept. 8-30.
Leonardia said in the EO that the city is asking for the sincere cooperation of the public and clear community awareness and understanding that the gains brought by the previous health discipline and protocols shall not be wasted in order that the people and the local economy will survive despite the Covid-19 health crisis.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health in Western Visayas reported 229 new Covid-19 cases and four deaths in the region yesterday.
Of the number, Bacolod registered 132 new cases and three deaths, while Negros Occidental had 31 and one fatality.*