THOUGH happy that the National Government has placed Cebu City under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status, local retailers prefer to operate under general community quarantine (GCQ) as this means less restrictions for them and their workers.
"MECQ is almost similar to ECQ. There are many restrictions and retailers in malls still cannot open while others can be partially opened. Retailers were hoping to be on GCQ so they can open.
They were not expecting MECQ," said Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) Cebu chapter spokesperson Robert Go.
SunStar Cebu sought Go’s comments after Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella issued his new order allowing the opening of malls in the city.
"Some employees cannot come to work since many workers depend on public transportation. Employees are hoping to come to work, but they still can't. They are clamoring since they are out of budget," he said.
Labella issued Executive Order (EO) 84 on Thursday, July 16, 2020, setting the guidelines that must be followed for the MECQ period. His order took effect on the same day.
The city's MECQ status started on July 16 and will end on July 31, 2020.
Aside from malls, restaurants (with no dine-ins) are allowed to operate under EO 84.
Also allowed are shops selling hardware, clothes and accessories, books, school and office supplies and infant care needs.
Stores involved in trading information, technology and communications equipment, flower, jewelry, perfume, novelty items and toys are permitted to operate but only at 50 percent of their workforce.
Other establishments and individuals allowed to operate with only 50 percent operating capacity are manufacturing industries.
Under MECQ, businesses that are still prohibited from operating are amusement and entertainment centers, gaming and fitness hubs and other sports facilities.
Libraries, museums, cultural centers, tourism-related industries and personal care services are also not allowed to operate.
Hotels or similar establishments in Cebu City are not allowed to operate except those accommodating guests with existing bookings as of May 1, 2020, those with existing long-term bookings, distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and stranded Filipinos or foreign nationals, repatriated OFWs undergoing quarantine protocol, non-OFWs required to undergo mandatory facility-based quarantine, and those accommodating health workers and other employees from establishments allowed to operate.
Meanwhile, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) is now preparing for the reopening of malls and other establishments.
Acting CCPO Director Police Col. Josefino Ligan said he will call for a meeting with mall security managers to know their plans once their establishments reopen their doors to the public.
“We want them to understand that ensuring that malls are safe for their customers is their primary role," Ligan told reporters.
Ligan said he will personally monitor that health protocols are implemented in the malls on reopening day.
Ligan said the malls that fail to comply with the health protocols could face closure.
“Basically, we will be going to the malls to check on the compliance of the minimum health standard requirement," said Ligan, adding that more police personnel will be deployed in each of the malls. (JOB, AYB / MMC)