5 firms in Koronadal penalized for violating COVID-19 protocols

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 29 Sep) – Five business establishments here have been meted with five-day temporary closure while 82 others received warnings from the city government for violating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety protocols.

This major thoroughfare in Koronadal City is supposed to be busy with traffic, but is unusually quiet with the “No Movement Sunday” implemented by the local government to help curb the spread of COVID-19. MindaNews file photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Mayor Eliordo Ogena said Wednesday the penalty was based on the series of random surprise inspections conducted since last week by a composite team commissioned by the local government.

He said the five businesses that were ordered closed for at least five days involved two swimming resorts, two bars, and a used clothing or “ukay-ukay” shop.

The concerned establishments failed to comply with the minimum health standards, including the observance of safe physical distancing and wearing of face masks by customers and workers, he said.

“With a heavy heart I did that because I want to send the message to everybody that while we want the economy to grow and want the economy not to be disturbed, we want also everyone to observe the basic health protocols,” Ogena said in a radio interview.

He said the 82 other establishments were given citation tickets and warnings for failing to fully comply with health protocols.

“Hopefully they will be more careful and others will be more careful because we are not joking here, he said.

The mayor said the composite team will continue to conduct surprise visits and inspections in the coming days on business establishments within the city’s 27 barangays.

He earlier issued a memorandum renewing the mandate of the team as endorsed by the department heads and members of the city’s incident management team.

The team is headed by the City Health Office and backed up by personnel from the City Licensing Office, Community Affairs Office, City Environment and Natural Resources Office, and the city police.

Ogena said it is important for the local government to sustain the compliance monitoring on business establishments to control the spread of COVID-19 in the city.

He said businesses and residents need to strictly follow the health protocols as it is the most effective measure to stop local transmission.

“If they will not do that, we might be overwhelmed by COVID. We have to do a balancing act,” the mayor said.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the active COVID-19 cases in the city dropped to 532, after reaching an all-time high of 779 on Sept. 19.

The confirmed infections in the city since last year already reached a total of 5,714, with 183 related deaths and 4,999 recoveries. (MindaNews)