PROHIBITING dine-in activities in food service establishments in Cebu Province, except in the independent cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, has been added to the strict social distancing measures that have been implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a news conference Monday, March 23, 2020, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she will issue an executive order (EO) on this matter after receiving reports that a party was held in a fast-food chain in the northern city of Danao over the weekend.
The host allegedly signed a “Covid-19 waiver” before the party started.
“Would signing a Covid-19 waiver mean that we will no longer contract the virus? Is there such a thing? Is business the only thing that matters in this time of danger and crisis?” Garcia said in a mix of English and Cebuano.
The governor said under the new EO, dine-in activities in fast-food joints, restaurants, pizza parlors and eateries will be strictly prohibited.
Customers are instead advised to avail themselves of food delivery services or go to the drive-thru or order to-go.
The measure will take effect 24 hours after the issuance of the EO for fastfood outlets and pizza parlors and 48 hours after for eateries and restaurants.
Aside from this, all beach outings, excursions and activities of similar nature are also strictly prohibited.
Garcia pointed out, “for the umpteenth time,” the importance of the public’s cooperation in the strict implementation of social distancing.
Garcia has again received screen captured photos of netizens going to the beach and holding team-building workshops, not even a week after she called out netizens who went on outings instead of staying home.
“Which part of my previous executive order did you not understand? Didn’t I tell you strict social distancing shall be observed at all times? I will publicly shame you. In so doing, you’re endangering the Cebuanos,” Garcia said in a mix of English and Cebuano.
She warned resort operators who continue to accommodate gatherings of more than 20 people that she will recommend the revocation of their business permits to the local government unit concerned.
The public is urged to send photos of persons violating the social distancing measures enforced in the province.
They may send their complaints along with photos to the Sugbo News page or to the Provincial Information Office at 0917 473 3007 or 0917 625 8246.
Brandon Vismanos Perang, also known as Innocent Loco, provoked the ire of Garcia for mocking the measures she has implemented.
Based on his Facebook profile, Perang lives in Mandaue City, but he is a native of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur.
On his post, Perang said he and his friends don’t see the Covid-19 as a threat since they are “healthy,” adding that they don’t see the point in implementing strict social distancing and curfews.
“P*kyu sa nagpa curfew hahaha padayun mis rap battle on the street namo ganiha no matter wat happen wami paki sa balaod pa dha !”
(F*ck you to those who implemented the curfew. We went on with our street rap battle. We don’t care about laws and directives.)
Perang, 27, of Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue, voluntarily surrendered to the Mandaue City Police Office Monday. He will be turned over to the Cebu Police Provincial Office.
For those affected by the 24-hour curfew, especially students, Garcia said: “Take time to pray and connect with your parents. We need your prayers. I hope our students who are confined in their homes will spend their time productively.”
The governor said now is the best time for youngsters at home to build strong relationships with family members, read books and help do house chores.
On Saturday, March 21, Garcia also signed EO 5-K ordering employers to reduce the in-person work force reporting at any of their work locations, branches or offices by 50 percent.
All businesses, business process outsourcing and non-profit entities operating within Cebu Province, except in the independent cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, are directed to use telecommuting procedures effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 24.
In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella ordered the strict observance of social distancing and limiting the number of customers in all remaining open establishments.
In his EO 61 issued on Monday, March 23, establishments such as grocery stores, supermarkets, banks, money transfer firms, pharmacies and hardware stores have to limit the entry of customers. These establishments are exempted from his temporary closure order.
“This to ensure that there is no crowding within their premises and that social distancing measures are properly observed. Management are to provide seats to customers who have yet to enter the premises while still observing a distance of 1.5 meters between seats,” the EO states.
Section 2 of the EO also states that delivery services transporting food, water and medicine are allowed to operate during curfew hours provided that delivery drivers wear proper personal protective equipment and maintain social distancing when handing over parcels or items.
The City has imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The Philippine National Police, in cooperation with the Business Permit Licensing Office and the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement team, will inspect establishments to ensure the order is implemented.
Appropriate legal action will be taken against violators.
The City also wrote a letter to the Government Service and Insurance System, Social Security System, PhilHealth, Pag-ibig Fund, National Bureau of Investigation, Registry of Deeds, and Bureau of Internal Revenue asking them to suspend walk-in transactions and conduct online transactions instead.
In Talisay City, Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. signed EO 017-2020 on Monday, March 23, to temporarily shut down malls and other establishments unless these provide “essential services” like supermarkets, grocery stores, banks, hardware stores and pharmacies.
The EO also exempts restaurants, but dine-in is strictly prohibited.
To prevent hoarding and panic buying, Gullas also ordered wholesalers and retailers to limit the number of items a customer can buy daily.
Meanwhile, Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) Director Jaime Bernadas said one of the four samples taken from patients under investigation (PUIs) at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center’s Covid-19 testing center that were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa in Metro Manila tested negative for the new coronavirus.
Bernadas also denied reports circulating on social media that the Covid-19 had killed doctors in Cebu.
He said there is only one confirmed case of Covid-19 in Cebu.
He said the Police Regional Office 7, Philippine Coast Guard 7 and the Bureau of Fire Protection 7 have agreed to help the DOH 7 conduct enforcement activities in Central Visayas, including contract tracing of persons suspected of having Covid-19 symptoms.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, March 23, the DOH Central Office announced that 82 more patients tested positive for the virus, while eight other patients died.
It said the number of Covid-19 cases nationwide has gone up to 462, while the death toll has risen to 33.
One more patient has recovered, though, bringing the number of recoveries to 18.
The eight mortalities were men between the ages of 56 and 89. They all had pre-existing medical conditions. (RTF, JJL, JCT, JTM, KFD)