COVID-19 Consumer News

This Is How the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Affected Cebu

Cebu has implemented various guidelines to ensure the safety of Cebuanos.

By: Peter Parcon | March 20, 2020
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Coronavirus, Covid-19, Cebu, travel bans, community quarantine, test kits

Flights to and from all domestic destinations have been prohibited by authorities in Cebu to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

Starting 12:01 AM on March 27, 2020, the province of Cebu shall be under enhanced community quarantine following Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s Executive Order 5-N. The Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines will assist in implementing the EO. Under the enhanced community quarantine, international passengers shall not be allowed entry to the province, while outbound passengers may still exit. Cargoes shall still be allowed. Meanwhile, Cebu City has also been placed under enhanced community quarantine, which shall take effect on noon of March 28, 2020 and will last until noon of April 28, 2020.

In addition to that, the Cebu Provincial Board has also approved a resolution declaring Cebu under a state of emergency. The resolution was approved on March 26, 2020 during an emergency session. A declaration of state of emergency empowers a governing unit to impose policies it would not be able to under normal circumstances in order to address a danger or disaster.

Tourism News

While Cebu has yet to have a confirmed a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case, the tourism industry is already feeling the effects. Occupancy rates have gone down due to the COVID-19 travel bans. According to the Department of Tourism - Central Visayas (DOT-7), room occupancy suffered a 20 percent reduction compared to the same period last year.

DOT-7 regional director Shalimar Tamano said the DOT may not hit its 2020 targets due to the travel bans. The department is working with tourism stakeholders to find short-term solutions to deal with the revenue losses of businesses. Among the solutions discussed were tax breaks for hotels, special rates for regional tourists patronizing local hotels, and financial aid from the government. Meanwhile, measures are taken on various scales to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the province.

Measures by the Local Government

The provincial government of Cebu has implemented a 14-day mandatory quarantine for all international passengers arriving at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA). Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an executive order to implement the mandatory quarantine on March 15.

Additionally, the executive order also banned domestic air and sea travel to Cebu. The prohibition will be effective for 30 days. While entry to Cebu is prohibited, residents or visitors who will leave Cebuwill not be allowed to return during the 30-day period. The executive order also contained the following:

1. Implementation of a province-wide curfew from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM
2. Restaurants should close by 9:00 PM
3. Cancellation of sports events, competitions, and tournaments
4. Cancellation of large assemblies and gatherings
5. Closure of all movie houses, recreational centers, cockpits, gyms, pools, and other communal activity centers

Pharmacies and 24-hour convenience stores are exempted from the limited operating hours under the EO. Individuals tasked to perform essential services are also exempted from the curfew.

Cebu City under Community Quarantine

Meanwhile in Cebu City, Mayor Edgar Labella issued Executive Order (EO) 52, placing Cebu City under community quarantine. While the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 recommends community quarantine when there are at least two confirmed cases, the mayor said: “it is better to be preemptive and precautionary rather than reactive.”The mayor added that the increasing number of global COVID-19 cases prompted the move to put the city under community quarantine.

Executive Order 52 contained the following:

1. Closure of seaports to passenger traffic
2. Setting up of health checkpoints along the borders of Cebu
3. Suspension of classes until April 14
4. Implementation of a curfew from 8:00 PM to 5:00 PM
5. Limited operations of malls, community centers, recreational centers, and commercial areas
6. Cancellation of concerts, fiesta celebrations, cockpit operations, and activities where large crowds will gather
7. Workers who are not residents of Cebu City can enter the city if they can present identification cards
8. Medical centers, pharmacies, and health care establishments are exempted from the limited operational hours
9. House-to-house monitoring of households with senior citizens, pregnant women, and sick persons by barangay officials and health workers

In addition to these, minors and persons aged 65 years old and above have been prohibited from going out. The “stay-at-home” order was issued by Mayor Labella and it took effect last March 22. Labella also issued EO 60, which urged both private and public institutions to suspend the work of senior citizens. Under the same EO, emphasis is given on the exclusion of seniors from the “no work, no pay” rule. Violators will be sent home.

Even as measures were implemented to hinder the spread of the virus, the Cebu City Government is working to acquire more test kits. This comes as the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas gave 100 test kits to the local government. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) will also be purchased for health responders and police personnel. Moreover, some vacant lots in the South Road Properties are being considered as a quarantine facility in the city.

For more updates, go to Yoorekka.
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About Peter Parcon
After leaving spending 16 years of his professional life in the academe, Peter decided to try his luck in the world of online freelancing. For the past eight years, he has been creating content for clients all around the world. He can work on just about any topic - from tattoos to technology and food to finance. He dreams of visiting every island in the archipelago some day.
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