MANILA, Philippines – After weeks of long lines outside markets and pharmacies due to physical distancing measures in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the interior department ordered local government units (LGUs) to stop setting window hours for people to buy food and medicine.
In a memo to governors, mayors, and regional directors dated Saturday, April 18, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año told LGUs to “discontinue the imposition of ‘narrow or limited window period’ on the access to and operations of public and private establishments such as wet markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, and pharmacies.”
Año pointed out that setting window hours “further creates congestion of people who flock to these areas at the same time” and prevents the proper implementation of physical distancing. (READ: [OPINYON] Ang espasyo sa panahon ng coronavirus)
The scheduling and clustering of barangays or communities who may be allowed to go out “is highly encouraged” instead, added Año.
He also urged LGUs to come up with “innovative measures” that would align with the intent of the lockdown or the “enhanced community quarantine” (ECQ) in Luzon and Metro Manila. (READ: Gov’t wants supermarkets, pharmacies to operate for 12 hours)
The DILG then suggested the following strategies, which could be done in partnership with local businesses:
- Marketing and delivery of goods through the use of online platforms
- Community market in subdivisions
- Market on wheels or mobile palengkes
The lockdown for the entire Luzon was earlier extended to April 30 to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
As of Sunday, April 19, 6,259 have been infected in the Philippines. Among these cases, 409 have died and 572 have recovered. – Rappler.com