Briones: Oval to open

Publio J. Briones III
·3 min read

AFTER more than 12 months of being off-limits to the public, after more than a year of being used as living quarters by police personnel who were sent to Cebu to assist our men and women in blue to enforce quarantine protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Cebu City Government has announced that it will reopen the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) on Monday, May 3, 2021.

Finally, the City Government had a eureka moment. It dawned on our officials that the sports center was built for, you’ve guessed it, people who engage in sports. Not to serve as temporary lodgings for law enforcement officers. Otherwise, the facility would have been called the Cebu City Law Enforcement Officers Center.

But hey, all’s well that ends well.

After all, it was only a year and barely a month that the City deprived its citizens of a place to unwind. You know, where they could relax, exercise, keep fit so they would be healthy enough to fight off infection, especially from the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Granted, at the start of the pandemic, we were all in the dark. Mayor Edgardo Labella and the other city officials were all caught off guard. Protecting residents was foremost in their minds. And it wasn’t only them. It was the rest of the country. And most of the world.

But that was in the beginning. And almost 13 months have passed. There have been new findings. New discoveries. The Covid-19 health crisis, which has caused the Philippine economy to shrink nearly 10 percent in 2020, is not as deadly as everyone thought.

Dr. Faheem Younus, head of the Infectious Diseases Clinic at the University of Maryland, says: “We may have to live with Covid-19 for months or years. Don’t deny or panic. Don’t make your life a misery. Let’s learn to live with this reality.”

I agree. The fearmongering has to stop. We have to move on with our lives. Heck, millions of people out there are without jobs and barely surviving, but here in Cebu City, authorities continue to apprehend and penalize people who are caught outside without a face mask.

By the way, Faheem, and I will call him by his first name since I am entrusting my life to him, has something to say about that. According to him, and he should know having worked against viruses for 20 years, “wearing a mask for a long time interferes with your breathing and oxygen levels. Wear it only in crowded places.”

Which brings me back to the reopening of the CCSC.

A colleague at work shared a Facebook post of Bontuyan Jundel, which shows a photo of a man at the CCSC’s oval, dressed to jog or to run, it’s not really clear in the picture, and he’s wearing a mask and a face shield, which, I found out, the City requires for track users.

Jundel admits they’re not experts and that they’re only implementing minimum health standards, which is fine by me. But please, don’t insult my intelligence by suggesting that the wearing of mask and face shield won’t affect my athletic performance. Ahem.