DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 July) — The local government of Davao plans to penalize persons who do not wear face masks inside entertainment venues, restaurants, and accommodation facilities, Mayor Sara Duterte said, following complaints that customers would remove their masks once they are inside these establishments.
Duterte said over DCDR 87.5 or the Davao City Disaster Radio on Friday that the plan to draft an ordinance was discussed with 3rd district Councilor Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz, chair of the Committee on Tourism.
The mayor said her executive order does not penalize violators since such the local council is the only body authorized to impose penalties through ordinances.
“As a mayor, I can write laws without penalties. That is one of the limitations of my law-making power. The only one who can draft law with penalties is the local councilor. So, we need an ordinance,” she said.
Duterte said health experts advised the wearing of face mask in public places to lower the chances of getting infected or infecting another with the highly contagious coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
As of July 3, the Department of Health-Davao reported a total of 587 COVID-19 cases in the region: 449 in Davao City, 50 in Davao del Norte, 22 in Davao del Sur, 32 in Davao de Oro, 30 in Davao Oriental, and four in Davao Occidental.
Duterte appealed to Dabawenyos not to remove their face masks inside establishments, except when they drink or eat.
“We received reports that once they are inside these establishments, they would no longer wear facemasks as if once they are inside, the virus is no longer there. We remind everyone that the virus is everywhere, and we have asymptomatic (cases), meaning they are carriers but they don’t manifest symptoms such as fever, cough, and colds,” she added.
According to the World Health Organization, majority of the transmissions are through patients with symptoms but the actual rates of the asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 have yet to be known.
She said non-wearing of mask would increase the chances of contracting the infection.
“Remember what the doctor said that if both of us would wear face mask, the risk of transmission is very low as compared to when one of us does not wear face mask. So, we need to wear our face mask wherever we go. Of course, it’s understandable that you have to remove it when we drink coffee or start to eat,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)