COVID-19

Cebu City not limiting dine-in despite spike in COVID-19 cases from restaurants

Lorraine Ecarma
Cebu City not limiting dine-in despite spike in COVID-19 cases from restaurants

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From a daily average of 7.38 new cases of COVID-19 per day in the later weeks of October, the city tally hikes to 13 daily infections in November

Instead of lowering dine-in capacities, the Cebu City government decided to form a monitoring group which would ensure minimum health standards are observed in restaurants here.

This was decided by the city government after it identified that “drinking sprees” and “eating sprees” were the top causes of the spike in COVID-19 cases here.

Mayor Edgardo Labella, in a press conference on Monday, November 16, explained that the city could not lower the dine-in capacities of restaurants because that would go against protocols established by the national Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases.

“We will not lessen because that will be violative of the IATF guidelines. But there will only be a more efficient, more effective enforcement (of health protocols),” he said in a joint press conference with Secretary Roy Cimatu, and Councilor Joel Garganera, head of the Cebu Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

“There will be a group. It was agreed upon during the meeting by the City Health [Office], the police and the Oplan Bulabog [team] that there will be strict monitoring of the restaurants and of course, to call their attention. Not necessarily punish them but admonish them to observe the minimum health protocols,” he added.

Currently, areas like Cebu City which are under modified general community quarantine, are allowed to open restaurants and other commercial establishments to 75% capacity.

Apart from public gatherings, however, Garganera added that required PCR testing for employees, workplace transmissions, and for pregnant women, also contributed to the notable uptick in cases observed during the early weeks of November.

From a daily average of 7.38 new cases of COVID-19 per day in the later weeks of October, the city tallied 13 cases per day in November. The highest count of 59 new cases for November was set Saturday, November 14.

On Sunday, November 15, the number of new cases decreased to 30.

In response to this, Cebu City once again tightened its border controls on Cebu Province for non-essential travels. Labella also said that he planned to reimplement the coding scheme for vehicles to minimize crowding.

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Both Labella and Garganera also assured the public that the increase in cases would not result in a city-wide lockdown.

Labella published on Monday evening, November 19, the requirements to enter Cebu City coming from other provinces.

Among the requirements were a RT-PCR test taken within 3 days, travel itinerary, accommodation booking documents, among others.

He clarified in an amendment posted on Tuesday morning that those requirements were only for those coming from outside of Cebu province.

Those living within Cebu province only needed to present a work ID and certificate of employment to enter the city.

Read the entire EO 105 and amendment here:

— Rappler.com

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