CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella has urged the city’s residents to avoid visiting tourist destinations in the province.
This after Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said some mayors were being cautious about Cebu City residents visiting their tourist spots because of the high number of coronavirus infections in the city.
Garcia, however, said she has not issued any order prohibiting Cebu City residents from visiting tourist destinations in the province.
The governor said she still has to confer with the mayors.
“As of now wala pa but i also need to confer with the mayors. I know that most of them are really really very careful, to say the least about Cebu City residents kay ang nakatakod lagi sa province ang Cebu City,” she said.
In a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Cebu City Public Information Office, Labella reminded constituents that despite the city being on modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the mandatory stay-at-home directives remain in effect.
"Stay at home and only go out to buy necessities and go to work. Let us avoid going to tourists places for leisure because that is not a necessity. We are still under quarantine and staying at home is mandatory," Labella said.
On Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, Garcia said while Covid-19 is still present, strict protocols are still necessary to ensure that tourists visiting Cebu's sites are Covid-19 free.
She urged those visiting the Province's tourism sites to register with the Capitol's online portal and to follow minimum health protocols such as wearing masks, face shields and bringing their own gear during the activity.
For his part, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said Garcia must make a clear policy on the matter especially since both the Province and Cebu City are now under MGCQ and the easing of restrictions is expected from both local government units (LGUs).
Under the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) policies, residents of areas under MGCQ can cross borders as long as the areas are also under MGCQ.
Ferro said police will continue to tightly secure borders between the various LGUs.
He also ordered police chiefs to coordinate with the mayors in creating their own city and municipal contact tracing team to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in their areas.
“We did not relax our borders; we still have the checkpoints. I told our police units not to lower their guard on the checkpoints," Ferro said.
When the Province shifted to MGCQ, Garcia led the opening of the Province's tourism activities as a way to revitalize the industry which was greatly affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Garcia was present when Oslob's whaleshark watching activity was reopened. She was also present in Moalboal for the reopening of their scuba diving activities, in Barili for its all-terrain vehicle adventure and at the canyoneering activities in Badian and Alegria.
“I'm protecting the livelihoods of 600 canyoneering guides in Badian, more than 300 guides in Alegria. I'm protecting close to 300 pumpboat operators in Cordova, more than 100 in Moalboal. I'm protecting the resorts that have opened up. I'm protecting the Cebuanos here," Garcia said.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that Cebu Province now has 538 active cases, 4,194 have recovered and around 328 have died.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Tourism Officer Jocelyn Pesquera said the Cebu City Tourism Office has started to organize programs promoting “virtual tours" through social media.
"Through our virtual tours, people don't need to go out of their house just to go to a particular tourist destination. They can just log in to our official FB page and website and they can still take tours," Pesquera said. (ANV, AYB, JKV)