BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia has eased the capacity limit for most businesses and work spaces, with recreation venues allowed to use up to 80% of their space as part of the new health protocols in the city is placed under Alert Level 1.
Leonardia on Monday, February 28, signed Executive Order No. 9, series of 2022. The EO also shortened the city curfew, which now starts at 12 midnight to 4 am, and lifted the alcohol ban.
The city government reverted to full or 100% on-site capacity for its offices, suspending work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements for city government workers.
Unvaccinated city employees will still have to take a RT-PCR test or rapid antigen test (RAT) at their own expense before reporting for duty and every two weeks thereafter.
“Failure to present the required negative test result shall count as absence from work chargeable to sick and vacation leave credits or as leave without pay once sick/vacation leave credits are used up,” the new EO states.
Offices of national agencies, the judiciary, and other independent constitutional commissions may set their own on-site work capacities and rules.
Sites for meetings, conferences and exhibitions, parties and reunions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints ,or overlooks can now accommodate up to 80% capacity. The same limit applies to other recreational venues like internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, cinemas, religious gatherings, funerals and memorial events, dine-in services, salons, and spas.
Fitness studios are also covered by the 80% capacity limit but patrons must wear masks at all times.
Other activities covered by the 80% rule are film, music, and television production, contact sports and funfairs and amusement parts, including those that cater to children.
All other activities can operate at full capacity, according to the EO.
Leonardia said he expected a swift economic rebound if the city maintains its low COVID-19 rates as businesses reopen and more travelers head for the city.
The city’s new COVID-19 cases has stuck to zero or single-digits for two weeks now. Infection rates started dropping early in February from a fourth surge during the new year.
The new order allows intrazonal and interzonal movement without regard to age and comorbidities. However, the city will continue to ask unvaccinated individuals or those who have only received partial vaccine coverage to submit a negative result of a RAT by a Department of Health-certified laboratory. The RAT should be administered within 48 hours prior to boarding at their port of departure.
Fully vaccinated travelers, including those with booster shots, should also present their BaCTrac ID from the city and their vaccination card before boarding any conveyance headed for Bacolod. They will be asked again to present the same documents and upon arrival in the city or the Bacolod-Silay airport for those taking flights.
Passengers needing RAT results may also be subjected to random free testing on arrival as part of the system ensuring authenticity of tests to protect public health.