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GCQ won’t make much difference in Negros, Bacolod Covid restrictions

Placing Negros Occidental and Bacolod City under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in July won’t make much difference in the lives of residents since most of its restrictions are already being enforced in the province and city under the current Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), officials said Tuesday, June 29.

Negros Occidental and Bacolod City will be under GCQ in July, one notch stricter than its current MGCQ, subject to appeal by the local government unit (LGU), Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced Monday night.

In response Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson issued Executive Order 21-33, Series of 2021 Tuesday, placing Negros Occidental under GCQ from July 1 to 31 to help curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Negros Occidental had 1,899 active COVID-19 cases Tuesday, the Department of Health reported.

MGCQ is more lenient but in Negros Occidental the more stringent provisions of GCQ such as limiting mass gatherings to 30 percent of a venue’s capacity is already being implemented now, the governor said.

Lacson in EO 21-33 said his earlier executive order implementing stringent measures on mass gatherings that should be limited to 30 percent of a venue’s capacity remains in full force and effect.

Entertainment venues such as bars, concert halls and theaters, recreational venues such as net cafes, billiards and arcades, amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides, and traditional cockfighting and cockpits will be closed under GCQ, Lacson’s EO 21-33 said.

Curfew hours will remain from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. in Negros Occidental, Lacson also said.

Lacson said they will decide on whether persons from 15 years and below or 18 years old and below will be allowed to go out, and he is leaving the enforcement of liquor bans to LGU discretion.

The Capitol Lagoon Park in Bacolod City will remain limited to adults and for exercising purposes, Lacson said.

Roque said only non-contact sports will be allowed under GCQ and religious activities, wakes, weddings and baptisms should be limited to 30 percent of a venues capacity, but LGUs can increase it up to 50 percent.

Fully vaccinated senior citizens can go out subject to presentation of COVID-19 vaccination cards, he added.

IN BACOLOD CITY

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said the city government had already limited mass gatherings to 30 percent under MGCQ.

Familiaran also defended Bacolod City’s being recommended to be placed under GCQ, while Iloilo City is under Moderate Enhanced Community Quarantine.

The Department of Health on Monday classified Bacolod and Iloilo cities as moderate risk areas for COVID-19.

Familiaran said Iloilo City has more active COVID-19 cases than Bacolod City.

He also pointed out that Bacolod City has a much larger population than Iloilo City so ratio wise their cases are higher, Familaran said.

The Department of Health report shows that Bacolod City that has a population of 583,045 has 1,856 active COVID-19 cases, while Iloilo City with a population of 474,250 has 2,395 active cases, Familiaran pointed out.

Familiaran said the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Bacolod to be placed under GCQ is not final, the city could remain under MGCQ.

However, if Bacolod is under GCQ it will not matter as its restrictions are already being implemented in the city, he added.*

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