Mayor limits public gatherings to 30%, calls for skeletal work forces in April

Barbara Mijares photo

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued an executive order on Easter Sunday, April 4, imposing more stringent health and safety protocols to reduce the number of people allowed at public venues to “nip in the bud” the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Bacolod City effective immediately.

Although Bacolod City is under Modified General Community Quarantine, he said at least for the month of April, all government and private offices are strongly advised to implement a skeletal work force system and alternative work arrangements to reduce the number of employees working onsite at these offices at any one time.

Leonardia, in Executive Order No. 17, Series of 2021, also said any form of mass gathering or business activity is strongly advised to be at 30 percent of a venue’s seating capacity in April.

The 30 percent venue capacity rule, he said, covers:

*Dine-in restaurants, fast food and food retail establishments, including those in supermarkets, grocery stores, and food preparation establishments;

*Barbershops, salons, and other personal care service establishments;

*Church/religious gatherings for holy mass, prayers, worship services; and

*Meetings, incentives, conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) events shall be limited to the essential business gathering. Video conferences are advised for the conduct of meetings and conferences.

Facts and scientific studies supported by empirical data have undoubtedly established that mass gatherings can be an effective channel of transmitting and spreading infections, like the COVID-19, among the population, Leonardia said in his EO.

The City Emergency Operations Center records show that Bacolod City from March 23 to March 29, had been experiencing an average positivity rate of 17 percent of RT-PCR tests administered while private hospitals’ capacity utilization rate for COVID beds increased by 41.48 percent and 13.48 percent for the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH), he said.

Bacolod City continues to experience an increasing spike in COVID-19 infections that, as of April 3, there has been a total of 273 active cases over the last two weeks, he added.

The CLMMRH officials had also indicated that they may be forced to limit admissions to avoid being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. Similarly, Bacolod private hospitals are also under the same policy circumstance, and those menacing facts should urge all the constituents of the city to take extraordinary vigilance in complying with health and safety protocols, he said.

Leonardia said while Bacolod City remains under Modified General Community Quarantine, the rising COVID cases “should cause great alarm for us.”

“We strongly appeal to the citizenry to observe all basic health protocols (correct wearing of face masks/face shields and physical distancing while in public places, frequent hand-washing) and to voluntarily home quarantine themselves as much as possible,” he said.

Leonardia directed the barangay captains and their enforcement personnel with the assistance of the police to enforce Executive Order No. 17.*

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