Labella orders strict observance of social distancing in establishments

(UPDATED) City Mayor Edgardo Labella has ordered the strict observance of social distancing in all establishments of the city.

In his Executive Order (EO) no. 61 issued Monday, March 23, 2020, establishments such as grocery stores or supermarkets, banks and money remittance centers, pharmacies and hardware stores have to limit the ingress of customers.

Management of establishements are also required to provide seats to customers who have yet to enter the premises while still observing a distance of 1.5 meters between seats.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), in cooperation with the Business Permit Licensing Office and the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement (Probe) team will inspect if the establishments are implementing the order.

“These exempted establishments are mandated to limit the number of customers and clients entering their premises at a given time. This to ensure that there is no crowding within their premises and that social distancing measures are properly observed,” a portion of the EO reads.

Delivery services transporting food, water and medicine are also allowed to operate during curfew provided that delivery drivers wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and maintain social distancing upon handing over parcels or items.

The City has imposed a nine-hour curfew, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

EO No. 61 will take effect March 23, 2020, the day of its issuance.

In a press conference, Labella also announced that the City Government has purchased 2,000 personal protective equipment for health responders and PNP personnel.

He said the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas also donated gloves for health responders, which the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management responders will also benefit from.

Labella also warned the individuals, including some elected officials, violating his orders that they will be penalized and can be charged administratively. He said this after a barangay official was caught having a drinking session during curfew hours on Sunday night, March 22, 2020.

“They are supposed to be covered under the accountability of public office provision that public office is public trust and as public officials, they should set the example, lead by example that they themselves follow the regulations of the law,” said Labella in mixed English and Cebuano.

Labella has ordered for an investigation on the matter.

“How could we expect our constituency to follow rules if those in government are the first one to violate it,” the mayor added.

Labella signed Executive Order 052, placing the entire city under a general community quarantine from Monday, March 16, to Tuesday, April 14, 2020. (JJL)