DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio cautioned Dabawenyos from "merrymaking" this Christmas season as these might contribute to the possible increase of Covid-19 cases in the opening quarter of 2021.
The mayor's statement on Friday, November 27, 2020, came weeks before Christmas.
Duterte-Carpio emphasized that Christmas activities such as "house hopping" and parties will contribute to the increase of risk of transmissions and cases.
She cited a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) that said cases might surge right after the holidays as some might be having small gatherings.
"Nagpagawas ang WHO nga ang (WHO issued a warning that) merrymaking during Christmas celebration will most likely contribute in the increase of cases sa (in the) first quarter next year. Pinaka-secure and safe sa atoang tanan karon is we do not do house hopping sa mga Christmas parties, and we leave these parties sa mga members sa the same household. Di na ta mangimbita og silingan ug paryente (It is safe that we do not do house hopping for Christmas parties for now and that parties should be limited to household members. Let us also not invite our neighbors and relatives)," the mayor said in an interview via 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.
The mayor also told the public to set their expectations as the lowkey Christmas celebration might last until next year.
The mayor said large gatherings must be sacrificed for now and instead hold "online" gatherings for friends and relatives.
"Dili mani siya forever. Might as well musunod ta sa reminders sa health expects ug sa WHO (This won’t last forever. For now, might as well follow the reminders of health experts and WHO)," Duterte-Carpio said.
The mayor said her reminder also goes out to other activities, in relation to the Executive Order (EO) 57, entitled "An Order Regulating Mass Gatherings and Prohibiting Non-Essential Travel Within Davao City," which will be implemented until December 31, 2020.
The EO regulates mass gatherings in all public places to lower the risk of transmission.
According to Section 20 of the EO, the city only allows gatherings for personal milestones, urgent government and business purposes, but shall be limited to a maximum of 25 guests.
Extravagant Christmas activities and gatherings are discouraged, in accordance with EO 25, declaring April 17 to December 31, 2020, as a period of mourning and vigilance as global deaths due to the highly infectious coronavirus continue to rise.
Duterte-Carpio recently announced that Christmas carolings will be prohibited in the city as singing may transmit droplets from one person to another.
This year’s celebration of the "Pasko Fiesta," the City Government's annual month-long Christmas festival, will also be subdued as major events lined up will not push through due to the continuing threat of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also cautioned the public to continuously observe the minimum health protocols, especially during “Christmas rush” when people are storming shopping malls.
Vergeire also cautioned that wearing face masks and face shields is not enough to protect a person against the coronavirus in crowded areas.