Cebu City businesses partially open

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    CEBU City is preparing to open up businesses in the city with the downgrade of its quarantine classification to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from the strict enhanced community effective yesterday.

    Mayor Edgardo Labella said he is due to meet with owners of malls, which are now allowed to operate under MECQ, to discuss the do’s and don’ts for their re-opening.

    “MECQ kami ngayon (We are on MECQ now). Let’s always follow the protocols spelled out by the IATF,” said Labella, referring to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    “Open ang malls but on a limited working staff, essential goods (Malls will be opened but on a limited working staff, and establishments selling essential goods),” Labella said, noting that during the ECQ period, only food and pharmaceutical stores were allowed to open.

    The opening of businesses, like malls and other essential establishments, are authorized under the guidelines issued by the IATF. However, the guidelines mandate strict compliance to safety protocols such as social distancing, wearing of facemasks and hand hygiene.

    People who have nothing important to do outside of their homes are likewise discouraging from going out.

    “In fact, I will have a meeting with the mall owners early this afternoon so that we can spell out to them what’s really allowed, what are the limitations and restrictions for their opening,” he said.

    Labella said restaurants will be allowed to open but only for take-out and deliveries. Dine-ins is still not allowed.

    Likewise, mass gatherings remain prohibited but people Labella said he will cut some slack and allow the health-conscious to engage in outdoor jogging and walking exercises.

    He said the community quarantine pass system will remain enforced.

    Labella said since public transportation is still not allowed under MECQ, the city government will continue providing 20 buses to transport people who are authorized to go out of their homes.

    DEATH RATE

    Labella said the COVID-19 death rate in the city has increased from 0.8 percent in May to three to four percent in July. As of Wednesday, the city has 6,292 COVID-19 cases with 211 deaths.

    Labella also said the city has registered a recovery rate of 53 percent for the past two days due to “intervention that we have.”

    “Although mataas ‘yung recovery natin, maraming gumaling, tumaas ‘yung (death rate) (Although we have a high recovery rate and many have recovered, our death rate went up),” said Labella.

    Labella said reducing the death rate is one of the core objectives of the nine city hospitals that admit COVID-19 patients from the city and from nearby provinces.

    ANTIPOLO CITY

    The Antipolo City government has placed six areas under a weeklong community lockdown effective Saturday due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

    Mayor Andeng Ynares said that as of Wednesday (July 15), the city health office recorded 15 new cases, bringing the number to 440.

    Ynares said that with the approval of the IATF, the following areas will be under hard lockdown from July 18 to 24: Phase 2, COGEO Village, barangay Bagong Nayon; Upper Sto. Niño, barangay Sta. Cruz; Lower Ruhat III, barangay Mambugan; Phase 2, Sta. Elena Subdivision, San Jose; Phase 2, Peace Village, San Luis; and College View Park HOAI, purok 4, zone 8, Cupang.

    During the lockdown, residents are barred from leaving their homes, except those holding quarantine passes who will only be allowed to go out to buy food and medicines, and those with medical emergencies.

    Workers will also be allowed to leave their homes as long as they can present their company IDs.

    Ynares said the city government will distribute food packs to affected residents. – With Christian Oineza