A TOTAL of 2,000 Carbon Public Market vendors will be tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) starting next week.
The move to finally greenlight the test came after the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) data showed that public markets are among the main sources of Covid-19 infections in Cebu City.
City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer, said the city government will test the vendors using the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
The move to test the vendors was delayed because of disagreements among the City’s decision makers on what kind of testing method must be used. There are two methods.
A landmark in the coastal village of Ermita, the Carbon Public Market in Cebu City’s pandemic state currently houses 1,000 stall owners and 1,000 ambulant vendors.
The market, which has three units, used to have nearly 5,000 vendors and stall owners. But the Covid-19 pandemic forced vendors to stop their operations.
Garganera said they must ensure that Carbon Public Market, the largest market in the city, is a safe environment for its customers and vendors from Cebu City and other areas.
Market Administrator Irvin Cabales and Carbon Market Vendors Development Cooperative (Cemvedco) president Erwin Gok-ong Sr. already expressed their support for the plan to test vendors.
The move to test vendors was met with positive feedback during Garganera’s meeting with representatives of various vendor groups on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.
Garganera said he will meet four more vendor associations for a consultation on the move.
Some vendor groups’ representatives raised their concerns, some of which were queries about the Cebu City Government’s actions if a vendor tests positive for Covid-19. They asked if the City will decide to close the vendor’s stall and neighboring stalls; they further asked what the City will do with stalls that display perishable goods.
Garganera said the EOC will formulate guidelines to address the vendors’ concerns. (JJL)