Espinoza: Reimpose the 'Blue Sunday Law'

ANOTHER lockdown for Cebu or Cebu City may be a long shot but it’s a possibility if we do not take care of ourselves and the officials are lackadaisical in the implementation of the safety and health protocols intended to prevent, if not minimize the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) that according to health experts it now has a new variant. Sadly, the new variant of the virus was discovered here in Region 7.

Everyone has agreed to disagree to the recommendation of the higher-ups of the Department of Health (DOH) to put back Cebu under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) because of the dire effect on our economysince the businesses are now recovering from last year’s damage brought about by the lockdown due to Covid-19.

I could not agree more when Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia said that locking down Cebu again would make the poor poorer as our government no longer have the logistics to support families whose breadwinners would be out of work once non-essential establishments close down. But the question is, what has the officials of each local government units (LGUs) done to strictly enforce the health protocols?

The PUJs are now allowed to operate to serve the commuters and spur the economy. But what’s upsetting is that I’ve seen on several occasions that while all the passengers have the face mask and shield but some do not wear them properly. Some of the PUJ drivers even looked like they’re suffering from a toothache since their face mask is just on their chin. And, social distancing in public markets and malls are never observed and some people just don’t care for other’s safety and health.

I had this experience last week at the Land Transportation Office (LTO), which is housed in one of the malls in Cebu city, when I renewed my car’s registration. Since there was a couple ahead of me, I stood by at a safe distance and wait for my turn. Then suddenly a man from my back went straight to the sanitizer and tried to follow the couple ahead of me. No, I didn’t smack him. I only reminded of the health protocols. Even disappointing is that the security guard didn’t bother to admonish that selfish man.

I’ve said this many times that our health and safety is each personal concern. The job of the police is only to enforce the laws. But the problem is that there are still hard asses going around who do not observe the health protocols. I’ve noticed that some employees and workers in government and private offices are now so complacent that wearing a face mask and shield is mere compliance and not as a protection from the virus.

Other barangays in Cebu city where the rate of Covid-19 infection is going up should follow what Barangays Guadalupe and Lahug did in closing down on Sundays all establishments, except food chains but no dine in, to prevent the families from the “family day” practice of going out and dining in restaurants as one way of restricting people’s movement and prevent the spread of the virus.

Perhaps, the government should rethink and reimpose the “Blue Sunday Law” (RA 946, September 8, 1953) where all commercial and industrial establishments are closed on Sundays. When I was growing up, all stores in my hometown were closed on Sundays. One has to knock on the door of the store to buy a necessity. RA 946 was, however, repealed by PD 143 on March 3, 1973 that instead provides a weekly rest day for all workers.