GCQ extends inbound travel ban, anti COVID measures

CORTES, Bohol, May 2 (PIA) -- Governor Arthur Yap has placed Bohol under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from May 1 to May 31, 2020 following the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases inclusion of Bohol among the low-risk areas.

However, despite such downgrade in classification after the governor affirmed Bohol’s state of enhanced Community Quarantine earlier, the placement under GCQ still changes little the imposition of quarantine measures owing to the fact that the threat of COVID-19 transmission from neighboring provinces and other high-risk areas remains clear and imminent.

By Executive Order No. 28, the governor laid out several quarantine measures that would remain to be observed while Bohol is in GCQ or until May 31, 2020. 

For fear of transmission of the virus from neighboring provinces or hot zones elsewhere, Bohol maintains a suspended domestic air and sea travel of inbound passengers which should have lapsed April 30, but spans further to the last minute of May 31, 2020.

The same executive order also extends the general curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., suspension of classes, liquor ban, social distancing, prohibition against mass gatherings, mandatory use of face masks, regulated operation of business establishments, and continued observance of the "one household, one pass" policy.

As to the business establishments, Bohol’s GCQ has added four more items aside from public markets, slaughterhouses, supermarkets and groceries, hospitals and medical clinics, pharmacies, water refilling stations, banks and financial institutions, public utilities, gasoline stations, funeral parlors, take-out and delivery service for restaurants, media establishments, shipping and cargo handling, agricultural supply stores, food manufacturing and processing plants, hardware and construction supplies, business process outsourcing, textile industry, laundry shops, motor and automotive repair, operating from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM strictly observing social distancing, reduction of personnel and complies with the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines on COVID hygiene, distancing and food and environmental safety measures.   

EO 28 adds manufacturing industries as beverages, machinery and equipment, wood products and furniture, non-metallic products, tobacco products, paper and paper products, rubber and plastic products, refined petroleum products, computer electronics and optical products, pharmaceuticals, health emergency and disaster risk reduction products and equipment.

It also includes opening of malls and commercial centers and establishments including clothing accessories and non-leisure stores.    

The same EO also allows the re-opening of barbershops, salons, spas and other personal care industries as well as other services like real estate activities, office administrative, office support and business activities, legal and accounting offices, insurance, pension funding, architecture and engineering activities, technical testing and analysis, scientific and research development, other professional, scientific and technical activities, social work activities and government offices in the frontline.

The opening of such establishments, however, need to be in compliance with DOH guidelines for sanitation, must have temperature scanning in all their entrances, provides alcohol and hand washing sanitizers in entrances, provides foot baths at entrances, perform daily sanitation and disinfection and three times disinfection at predetermined areas.

Their reopening also must go with the provision of help desk in strategic areas for senior citizens, pregnant women, persons with disabilities, limited entry of people to establishments to strictly observe social distancing, discourages gathering of people, and they must provide ample eating areas for their employees so they can be spaced and not eating directly across each other.

According to the EO, for barber shops, salons, spas and personal care industries, they must comply with the following: accept appointments to refrain from long queues; provide handwashing areas where 70 percent alcohol is placed for customers and staff; space their chairs of treatment tables two meters apart; disinfect floors, tables, and chairs after each customer leaves; and disinfect and sterilize their tools after each customer.

For malls, dry goods stores, and department stores, the EO encourages them to use online ordering, operate with minimal personnel to decrease density of people in the store, put up demarcation lines or cordons to manage social distancing; perform regular disinfection of objects often touched by customers; and they must provide a roving safety officer who shall see to it that guidelines and policies are followed inside the mall establishments.   

Yap signed EO No. 28 on April 29, 2020. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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