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Observe social distancing in markets — IATF

Emmanuel Tupas, Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Observe social distancing in markets â IATF
IATF spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said social distancing should be observed in public markets to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019, and the agency is mulling deploying enforcers for this.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — Local government units (LGUs) should work with the interior department to come up with a system that would prevent overcrowding in public markets, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases yesterday said.

IATF spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said social distancing should be observed in public markets to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the agency is mulling deploying enforcers for this. 

“One of the things agreed upon by members of the Cabinet is we should come up with a system. So the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) will coordinate with the LGUs.

We have identified the public markets in each LGU,” Nograles said at a press briefing. 
He said LGUs may implement a “one-entry, one-exit” system in markets to control the movement of customers of retail establishments. 

“If you do that, you can determine how many people entered the establishments and make sure there is social distancing,” he added. 

Nograles said joint social distancing teams composed of military and police personnel may also be deployed to public markets to enforce quarantine measures. 
Last Saturday, the Quezon City government announced that retail sales would no longer be permitted in several Balintawak markets to ensure that social distancing measures are followed.

Only wholesale selling and drop-off of products would be allowed in the markets. Retail operations would be conducted through the city’s fresh market on wheels program. 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday beefed up its presence in public markets to ensure social distancing measures are strictly enforced.

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, PNP deputy chief for operations, directed the deployment of more policemen who would form part of monitoring teams with soldiers and barangay peace-keeping officers to make sure social distancing is observed.

Eleazar, who heads joint task force COVID Shield, issued the directive after photographs of jampacked public markets on social media during the Holy Week.

“There have been social media posts about the presence of a large number of marketgoers roaming around public markets. Concerns were raised that marketgoers and vendors were exposed to high risk of infection,” he said in a statement.

Among the establishments was the Balintawak Public Market in Quezon City which was filled with customers on Black Saturday.

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