Labella to punish stores neglecting measures against new coronavirus

·3 min read

SANCTIONS await establishments that neglect public health protocol such as enforcing the rules on social distancing and wearing of masks by their customers during their sale events, warned Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella.

The City will randomly inspect commercial centers to check if they are following the health protocol and community quarantine policies.

Labella said on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, the gravest of the sanctions that his office can implement is a closure order.

The Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) also asked the establishments to coordinate with the City should they hold sale events so necessary assistance will be provided to them.

BPLO head Jared Limquiaco said there is no law requiring all establishments to coordinate with the authorities when they are holding a sale. But he still suggested to store owners to communicate with the City, so the City can help them in controlling the flow of shoppers.

Lahug crowding incident

By doing so, Limquiaco believed that the Nov. 11 shoe sale event in Lahug that drew a crowd would be avoided in the remaining days of the holiday season and year overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The shoe store, JS Footwear, has been closed since Nov. 11, its opening day. It is facing an investigation and it has been issued a show cause order, which compels the store management to explain in writing why it violated the community quarantine policy prohibiting mass gathering.

The same order was sent last Nov. 12 by the Cebu City Legal Office to Lahug Barangay Captain Hazel Ann Empleo and three other barangay councilors, instructing them to explain why they should not be held administratively liable for dereliction of duty in implementing the minimum health standards as mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and mayor’s executive orders.

In an earlier report, Empleo said she inspected the store with her personnel last Tuesday, Nov. 10, a day before the sale. She said the store prepared by placing markers on the floor for social distancing and waiting areas.

The shoe store, said Empleo, did not expect to attract a large crowd, who largely got wind of the sale—three pairs for P998—on Facebook.

The City is also looking for other possible violations on top of the store’s violation for operating without a business permit.

Isolate

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) also encouraged all the individuals who went to the shoe store to self-isolate within 14 days and contact their respective barangays or the EOC if they develop any Covid-19 symptoms.

Labella said a stricter implementation of the quarantine policies will be enforced as the city saw an increase of Covid-19 cases in which sources of the transmission were outside transmission.

Outside source of Covid-19 transmission is the transmission outside the household—contracting the novel coronavirus from markets, establishments and other areas where a number of people go.

As of Nov. 12, Covid-19 cases from outside transmission had reached 80 percent, while the household transmission had reached 20 percent.

The police will also be conducting Oplan Paglilibot to enforce the city’s curfew policy.

Labella reminds the public that the use of quarantine passes is still being implemented.

Nov. 11 cases

Meanwhile, the EOC found out that of the 28 cases logged last Nov. 11, the highest logged cases in the city since November started, only 25 were new and these cases originated in Cebu City.

City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer, said of the 28, two cases were from Lapu-Lapu City while one turned out to be negative in the confirmatory test.

Labella, who joined the EOC meeting on Nov. 13, learned from the contact tracers that nine of the 25 cases were either pregnant or had just given birth.

Most of the pregnant women went to birthing centers. They reportedly shunned hospitals as they were afraid to test positive for Covid-19, while others found it expensive to take the test.

Labella will be meeting the management of different birthing centers in the city to come up with measures to ensure safety in their facilities. / JJL