Cebu City Gov’t expects more ‘voluntary suspensions of operations’ from establishments

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | September 14,2020 - 01:41 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Expect more business establishments here to impose voluntary suspensions of its operations to help curb the spread of coronavirus in the city.

This was the projection of the city government’s Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) as the city enters its third week under the most relaxed form of community quarantine.

“We’re expecting more business establishments to suspend their operations voluntarily now that we’re under MGCQ (modified general community quarantine),” said Lawyer Jared Limquiaco, the city’s business permit and licensing officer.

Mayor Edgardo Labella has tasked the BPLO to oversee compliance of minimum health standards in all privately owned establishments in the city. 

Limquiaco, in a phone interview with CDN Digital on Monday, September 14, 2020, said that since the city shifted to the most relaxed form of community quarantine, a total of seven private firms have momentarily and voluntarily halted their operations when their workers were downed with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

Work-to-home transmission

Of this number, he said five remained closed as their managers and administrators continue to disinfect their offices, and comply with the requirements needed before they can reopen. 

“Two of them have recently reopened after they were able to complete everything required from them,” said Limquiaco. 

The BPLO head said with work-to-home transmission of the virus emerging as the prevalent source of new infections, they are anticipating more firms to voluntarily suspend their operations. 

“Based from the data of our city health, when we’re still under ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) and MECQ (modified ECQ), household transmission was the common source of new cases,” said Limquiaco.

“But when we downgraded to GCQ, and eventually to MGCQ, the pattern has changed, and it’s work-to-home transmission,” he added. 

Nevertheless, Limquiaco said the private sector has been active in taking the necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

“They deserve commendation for their efforts, particularly for voluntarily suspending operations, to ensure that virus will not spread,” he said.

As of September 14, the BPLO has not issued any closure order to establishments found violating or not complying with the city’s minimum health standards.

In the meantime, Limquiaco reminded employers and managers to continue follow the city’s health protocols.

“Let’s always adhere to minimum health standards, and let’s not be complacent. Let’s also tell our employees just because we see each other every day does not mean we are not at risk of getting the virus,” explained Limquiaco.

Since Cebu City downgraded to the most relaxed form of community quarantine, local officials also warned the public that work-to-home transmission had slowly become the most prevalent source of new infections.

Labella’s latest executive order (EO) mandates all business establishments to halt their operations if at least one of their workers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.

Businesses with COVID-19 positive employees will have to secure a clearance from the City Health Office before they will be allowed to resume operations. /bmjo

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TAGS: Business Permit and Licensing Office, Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella

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