Only essential trips, workers allowed to go out in Cebu areas under ‘MECQ with heightened restrictions’
CEBU CITY, Philippines – In areas in Cebu province placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), only workers and individuals with urgent trips and itineraries are allowed to go outside of their houses.
This after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday, August 10, signed Executive Order (EO) No. 38, declaring “MECQ with heightened restrictions” in 11 localities in the province.
“There is an urgent need to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the cities of Talisay, Carcar, and Naga, as well as in the Municipalities of Samboan, Sibonga, Argao, Cordova, Oslob, Liloan, Consolacion, and Minglanilla that experienced a spike of active cases in the past few days,” portions of the five-page EO reads.
The EO took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, August 11.
Some of the restrictions reimposed in areas reclassified as “MECQ with heightened restrictions” included banning social gatherings, moving the curfew to an earlier hour – from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m., and prohibiting residents from going out of their houses for non-essential trips.
“The movement of all persons shall be limited to accessing goods and services from permitted establishments, for work in such establishments, or for such other activities allowed in this section,” it said.
Garcia’s EO also instructed local governments under MECQ to disallow minors age 15 years old and below, senior citizens with ages 65 years old and above, and individuals identified to be vulnerable to COVID-19 like pregnant women and those with co-morbidities from leaving their homes.
“(They) shall be required to remain in the residences at all times, except for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries and offices or such other activities permitted,” it added.
The Capitol also ordered selected business establishments and tourism services to temporarily cease operations.
These included entertainment venues with live performances, recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, amusement parks or theme parks, outdoor sports courts or venues for contact sports, indoor sports courts, fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centers or facilities, swimming pools, casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except for draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Also not allowed to operate are indoor tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, cultural shows and exhibits, outdoor tourist attractions, venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions.
Establishments offering personal care services, either within their properties or in-home, are likewise not permitted to operate for the meantime.
However, the provincial government did not stop the operations of public transportation in areas under “MECQ with heightened restrictions.”
“All public utility vehicles (PUVs) shall be allowed to operate within MECQ areas, provided they observed the guidelines defined under EO No. 35-B, Series of 2021,” the EO explained.
“All air-conditioned PUVs that cannot fully open their windows shall be required to install air purifiers with HEPA filer proportionate to the area of the PUV in for them to operate,” it added.
It can be recalled that the entire island of Cebu, including the three independent cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue, was initially classified under MECQ from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15 due to the rapid transmission of the virus.
However, the national IATF approved Cebu province’s appeal to downgrade to a more relaxed “General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions” last Aug. 1.
But Cebu province has been grappling a surge of COVID-19 cases, especially after health authorities detected the presence of the more transmissible Delta variant.
Recent data from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) noted a 119 percent two-week growth rate of new COVID-19 cases in Cebu province.
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