Cebu City removes major COVID-19 restrictions
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City is now “open” to all with only minimal COVID-19 restrictions left in the city.
Mayor Michael Rama signed during the celebration of Cebu City’s 85th Charter Day on Thursday, February 24, 2022, his new Executive Order (EO) titled Oplan Kagawasan, which would open Cebu City again almost to a pre-pandemic state.
In EO 163, the mayor argued that the city’s vaccination program had earned the top spot for the most number of inoculations during the national vaccination days that paved the way to the vaccination of more than 70 percent of the city’s vulnerable class target population.
In his speech for the Cebu City 85th Charter Day Celebrations, Rama said Oplan Kagawasan represents the future of Cebu City, moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kagawasan. Ang tanan, abli na. Kagawasan uban sa nagkahiusang kaakohan. Freedom with shared responsibility. Clearly all establishments and activities are open and allowed. Strict enforcement of minimum public health standards, no restrictions as to age or vaccination status. No curfew except minors,” said Rama.
In the EO, all establishments, persons, and activities shall be permitted to operate, work, or be undertaken regardless of age and vaccination status of persons.
This is provided that minimum public health standards shall be strictly observed at all times including wearing of face masks, regular sanitation, proper coughing and sneezing etiquettes, and staying at home when sick.
The EO also states that the observance of curfew is formally lifted except the curfew for minors, which must be observed and enforced from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. pursuant to an existing City Ordinance.
Intensified vaccination will also continue throughout the city as part of the effort to further open more sectors, especially face-to-face classes.
“In an effort to promote self-regulation, all establishments, persons and families are directed to set and impose protective health protocols and action plans. This includes the installation of facilities and devices which improve air circulation and proper ventilation. For this purpose, all persons are enjoined to carry out a shared responsibility in the maintenance and promotion of a safe and healthy place and environment for all,” said the EO.
In a press conference shortly after the Charter Day celebrations, Rama said that even inbound unvaccinated domestic travelers entering the city through its seaports will be allowed to enter without the need for negative COVID-19 test results.
“If you are talking about one island Cebu, we just need to avoid the policy of the one island,” added Rama.
Capacities for establishments will no longer be determined by number but by compliance in social distancing, said Lawyer Collin Rosell, the emissary of the mayor.
Rosell explained that with the implementation of social distancing, it is expected that an establishment’s capacity will immediately reduce to less than 100 percent, approximately 70, and even up to 50 percent.
“Ang kanang physical distancing, klaro kaayo sa tanan nga imong capacity mogamay. Ig distancing nimo, basin maabot na og 50 percent, di moubos. Gisimplify lang nato,” said Rosell.
Rama said that with the EO, he expects to see the Cebu City of the pre-pandemic time with the economy running 24/7. He is confident that this will spell the change for the city after suffering for almost two years already.
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