Exemptions from ‘stay at home’ order laid down: Cebu Province undergoes ECQ
Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - March 30, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Businesses offering essential goods and services are permitted to stay open even as the province undergoes an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting today, March 30.

Last March 28, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, after multiple meetings with mayors, the Department of Health (DOH), and stakeholders, signed and released Executive Order No. 5-0 Series of 2020.

The order outlines the guidelines and protocols in the implementation of the ECQ.

The enhanced community quarantine restricts movement of residents to necessary purchases of essential goods and access to basic services. Only one person per household with an official ECQ pass from the local government where the household is located may leave their homes to purchase these goods and services.

To make sure that these needs are met, Garcia’s order enumerated essential businesses that may remain open without restrictions.

Among these are healthcare related offices; manufacturing basic necessities or those essential materials for the preparation or manufacture of basic necessities; manufacturing hygiene products ; energy, water, telecommunication, and other utility companies; construction related services; companies engaged in the production of cement; shipbuilding companies; airports; seaports; manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products and medicines; public markets; slaughter houses; supermarkets and groceries; commissaries; cold Storages; pharmacies; 24/7 convenience stores; hardware stores; bank, remittance centers, ATMs, pawnshops, and other financial institutions; power, energy, telecommunication, cable/internet, and utility-providers; veterinary and animal feeds vendors; media outfits; gasoline stations, petroleum, LPG stores, and legitimate butane suppliers; trash collection and sanitation, and essential operations of residences; logistics, technology support, and child care services.

Water refilling stations, laundry services, general merchandise stores selling some essential goods and suppliers of aggrivets and feed suppliers are allowed to operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. only.

Food chains are allowed to continue operation following that they serve food only through deliveries and drive-through. Along with sari-sari stores and bakeshops, these food establishments are allowed to operate until 9 p.m.

Business Process Outsourcing companies (BPOs), taking up a huge bulk in the Province’s economy, may also operate given that they adhere to the telecommuting or work from home arrangements. The same applies for Knowledge Process Outsourcing, non-profit entities, and export-oriented industries.

The enumerated businesses are expected to strictly follow previously laid down safety measures.

"All establishments that are allowed to remain open shall strictly enforce social distancing measures, such as, but not limited to, skeletal staffing, temperature checking, use of masks and gloves and other requirements that may be implemented by the Cebu Provincial Government," the order reads.

All public transport in the province are also suspended. Residents are required to acquire a vehicle quarantine pass in order to use private vehicles for necessary travels around the province.

The delivery of cargo remains uninhibited given that deliveries are conducted by one delivery truck driver and one delivery assistant only.

During the lockdown, the provincial government along with all local government units of the province’s 44 municipalities and seven component cities will continue to operate under a skeletal workforce.

"The Cebu Provincial Capitol of Cebu and the different LGU within Cebu will remain open and shall maintain their operations with a skeletal force to guarantee the continuity of vital and essential services," the EO reads.

At 12:01 a.m. today, the individual restrictions on movement inherent in the declared enhanced community quarantine became effective.

This followed the travel ban on all incoming international flights and sea travels, which became effective last Friday, March 27.

There are now a total of two positive COVID-19 cases in the Province of Cebu, including one from Mandaue City.  JMO (FREEMAN)

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