BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio "Bing" Leonardia has issued an executive order that limited mass gatherings and other activities to help mitigate the prevalent rebound and spike in Covid-19 infections.

Leonardia, who signed EO No. 17 on April 4, 2021, said while Bacolod City was technically classified under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in April, the past two weeks recorded high figures for new Covid cases per day, based on data and statistics registered during March 2021.

“In our intention to 'nip in the bud' the rising number of Covid cases, we strongly appeal to the citizenry to observe all basic health protocols (correct wearing of face masks/face shields and physical distancing while in public places, frequent hand-washing) and to voluntarily home quarantine themselves as much as possible,” Leoonardia said.

The National Capital Region, Metro Manila and the neighboring provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal, were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) effective for one week starting March 29, 2021, due to the seeming rebound of Covid-19 infections or its noted new variants. With such necessary precaution, ECQ was further extended until the second week of April.

The mayor said the Department of Health (DOH) reported that the country registered an all-time high of 15,310 new Covid cases in just one day on April 2, which was an "alarming development."

Leonardia said facts and scientific studies supported by empirical data have established that mass gatherings can be an effective channel of transmitting and spreading infections like Covid-19 among the population.

Bacolod Emergency Operations Center (EOC) records showed Bacolod City from March 23 to March 29, was experiencing an average positivity rate of 17 percent of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests administered, while private hospitals’ capacity utilization rate for Covid beds increased by 41.48 percent and for the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH), a public and local government hospital in Bacolod City, 13.48 percent.

Bacolod City has continued to experience an increasing spike in Covid-19 infections that, as of April 3, there have been a total of 273 active cases over the last two weeks.

Reports coming from the CLMMRH indicated that it may be forced to limit its admissions to avoid being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients. Bacolod private hospitals were also under the same policy circumstance.

Section 2 of the EO said the order continues to adopt the EOC Resolution dated March 29, as affirmed by the Emergency Committee laying down the guidelines in the stringent implementation of health and safety protocols caused by the present Covid-19 infection spike and rebound.

Any form of mass gathering/business activity was strongly advised under the following venue/seating capacity:

*Dine-in restaurants, fast food and food retail establishments, including those in supermarkets, grocery stores, and food preparation establishments at a maximum of 30 percent;

*Barbershops, salons and other personal care service establishments at a maximum of 30 percent;

*Church/religious gatherings for holy mass/prayers/worship services/similar activities at a maximum of 30 percent;

*Meetings, incentives, conferences, and Exhibitions events shall be limited to essential business gatherings only at 30 percent seating/venue capacity. Video conference is preferably advised for the conduct of such meetings/conferences.

For April, all government and private offices were strongly advised to implement a skeletal workforce system and alternative work arrangements to reduce the number of employees working on-site.

The Punong Barangays and their respective enforcement officials/personnel with the assistance of the local police were directed to assist the City Government in enforcing the dissemination of the EO in promoting the welfare of Bacolod City, the EO said.