ASIDE from public transport drivers and conductors, employees of air-conditioned and poorly ventilated establishments allowed to operate under general community quarantine (GCQ) are now required to also wear air purifiers aside from face masks.
The establishments, on the other hand, are required to install high efficiency particulate air (Hepa) filter and ionizer, and sterilize its premises using ultraviolet germicidal light after business hours.
Cebu Province is under regular GCQ until Sept. 30, 2021 based on Executive Order (EO) 41-2021, which Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia signed on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
It is supposed to be under GCQ with heightened restrictions, as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
During her online press briefing on Tuesday night, Garcia said she required air purifiers for workers because they are often exposed to other people and must be protected from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
She stressed that she is not making money out of this policy.
“I am not selling (air purifiers). I’m not a salesperson, but I source out the best price, good quality personal air purifiers,” Garcia said.
Moalboal Mayor Paz Rozgoni and Asturias Mayor Antonio Pinto supported this new policy. Rozgoni said she has imposed the same requirement on resort employees since 2020.
The use of wearable air purifiers, however, is not recommended by the Department of Health (DOH) and is not included in the Philippine Covid-19 Living Clinical Practice Guidelines.
Filipino Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy, for his part, said the requirement to install Hepa filter and UV light will be an additional burden to small business owners. He proposed that this requirement be imposed only on those who can afford it.
“MSMEs are already deep in debt, and all their savings have been used up to hold on and sustain their operations,” Calooy said.
Other highlights of Garcia’s new EO are the following:
- Restaurants and other dine-in food establishments may operate at 50 percent venue capacity while al fresco dining outlets will be allowed at 100 percent capacity.
- Establishments offering personal care services, such as salons and spas, are also allowed to operate, but only at 50 percent capacity.
- All establishments are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.
- Entertainment venues with live performers such as karaoke, bars and cinemas, and recreational venues, such as internet cafes and billiard halls, are not allowed to operate.
- Curfew is imposed from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. in the entire province.
Meanwhile, Garcia said she might give another set of vitamins for drivers and conductors because the ones she distributed were good only for one month. (MVE, JOB)