GenSan eyes easing curbs amid COVID-19 surge

Authorities in General Santos City have imposed movement restrictions after a spike in COVID-19 cases. But many ordinary people complained the measure has affected their livelihood. Photo taken May 25, 2021 by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO/MindaNews

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 09 August) – The city government is looking at easing more restrictions in the coming days as it continues to balance its response against the soaring cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with the area’s economic situation.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said on Monday they are considering the possible lifting of the prohibition on public Zumba workouts and other related activities under the city’s prevailing general community quarantine (GCQ) measures.

He acknowledged that Zumba activities, which is included in the mass gathering restrictions, are essential to some residents in terms of maintaining good health and fitness.

The mayor said the matter has already been tabled for discussion by the City Inter-Agency Task Force (CIATF) for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases and the subject of upcoming consultations.

He said they need to discuss the matter with Zumba instructors in the city to ensure that strict compliance to the health protocols will be maintained during public workouts.

“We might allow it through the CIATF but there will be guidelines that should be implemented,” he said in a radio interview.

The local government partially lifted starting the weekend the three-month total liquor ban in the city following clamors from owners and workers of local bars and other establishments serving and selling liquor.

The move was provided for in Executive Order (EO) No. 34 issued by the mayor last Friday, amending EO 32, which placed the city under GCQ until Aug. 31.

Rivera said the liquor ban will only be observed during the “no movement” or “stay-at-home Sundays” and the curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“Concerned establishments are now allowed to accept customers at 30 percent capacity. We still have a liquor ban but it’s now more relaxed,” he said.

The city was among the areas in the country that were placed by the Department of Health last week under Alert Level 4 due to the high number of COVID-19 cases.

Areas under such alert status have healthcare utilization rates that are higher than 70 percent and classified as moderate- to critical-risk.

The COVID-19 infections in the city have surged anew in the past several days, with the active cases reaching 857 as of Sunday night, the highest in Region 12 (Soccsksargen).

The confirmed cases in the area since March last year already reached a total of 8,244, with 262 related deaths and 7,125 recoveries. (MindaNews)