Face masks still required in Cebu, Mandaue cities

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THE wearing of face masks in well-ventilated and open spaces in Cebu City is still required as Mayor Michael Rama has refused to adopt Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s executive order (EO) making their wearing optional in such spaces in the Province of Cebu.

Rama told reporters Friday, June 10, 2022, that the situations of the city and the province are far different.

The mayor explained that the geographic situation of the city has resulted in a compact population, especially in the lowland areas, and thus withdrawing the use of masks might be a risk to the people, unlike in the province.

Rama said the city is the center of Cebu Island and it is the immediate recipient of an influx of people.

“It does not mean that in the future we will not get into having the leniency and the liberality with the face mask requirement,” he said.

Rama added that he also needed to gather the views of the city’s stakeholders on the matter.

Cebu City is not under the jurisdiction of the provincial government since it is categorized as a highly urbanized city.

In Mandaue City, masks also still need to be worn in public places, lawyer John Eddu Ibañez, executive secretary of Mayor Jonas Cortes, told reporters on Friday.

Ibanez said the policy is under City Ordinance 15-2020-1531.

He said the ordinance will still be followed, and it can be amended only by the city’s Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Under the ordinance, people are required to wear their face masks properly at all times in public places. Anyone caught violating the ordinance will be fined P5,000.

The police and the city’s local government unit are to implement the policy strictly.

Garcia issued EO 16 last June 8, dropping the face mask requirement in open and well-ventilated spaces in the Province of Cebu.

Under her EO, mask wearing would be required only in closed and/or air-conditioned spaces.

But persons with Covid-19 symptoms like fever, cough or runny nose would still be required to wear a mask at all times when they leave their homes.

The Province of Cebu covers 44 towns and six component cities.

It excludes the three highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue on Cebu Island.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is not recognizing Garcia’s EO.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered to continue the arrest of those violating minimum public health standards, including the mandatory wearing of face masks in all public places, imposed by the IATF, especially in Cebu Province.

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