Benguet placed under heightened restrictions October 4-31


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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial inter-agency task force for emerging infectious diseases placed the province under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from October 4-31, 2021 to help contain the ongoing surge in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Gov. Melchor Diclas issued Executive Order No. 2021-027 to ensure the strict implementation of health and safety protocols provincewide to help in significantly reducing the occupancy of public and private health facilities and isolation centers due to the surge in cases over the past several weeks.

Under the aforesaid order, the public is reminded to strictly adhere to the minimum public health standards that include physical distancing, personal hygiene, cough etiquette, and wearing of face masks and face shields, especially in closed and confined places, crowded areas and close contacts.

Food preparation establishments such as commissaries, restaurants, and eateries may operate with their indoor dine in services at the venue with a seating capacity of a maximum of 20 percent and with their alfresco outdoor dine in services at the venue with a sitting capacity up to 50 percent.

On the other hand, personal care services, such as beauty salons, beauty parlors, barber shops, and nail spas may operate up to 30 percent of venue capacity. For the said purpose, the said establishments shall only provide services with the wearing of face masks at all times by patrons or clients and service providers.

Moreover, meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions, events and social gatherings in venue establishments shall not be allowed except for meetings in response to the COVID-19.

According to the order, mass gatherings shall not also be allowed during the implementation of the heightened restrictions in the whole province.

Diclas also ordered outdoor tourist attractions, as may be defined by the Department of Tourism, shall not be allowed including local tourism.

Under the Safety Seal certificate program, business establishments awarded Safety Seal certifications shall be allowed to operate at an additional 10 percentage points beyond the prescribed on-site capacity or venue seating capacity, whichever is applicable.

In addition, indoor sports venues and indoor tourist attractions shall not be allowed to operate.

However, religious gatherings shall be allowed up to 30 percent of the venue capacity, provided that there is no objection from the local government unit where the said gathering may take place.

Gatherings for neurological services, wakes, interment, funerals of those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed for 3 to 4 days including burial date. Wakes shall be limited to family members who are within the province.

Neurological services for those who died of COVID-19 and were cremated may be allowed upon completion of the required isolation of family members and close contacts.

Diclas called on private agencies and sectors, companies, schools and organizations are encouraged to set up isolation facilities for their employees while other offices shall implement alternative work arrangements with 30 to 50 percent allowable work force on site, with consideration to those working for indispensable reasons.

Diclas called on local governments to implement market day schedules, including dedicated time or day for disinfection.

He asserted that non-Benguet residents, whether authorized persons outside residence (APORs) or not, shall present negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results or full vaccination card at the police border checkpoints.

He claimed that penalties shall be imposed to violators of the minimum public health standards or uncooperative individuals for contact tracing and admission.

Truckers at the La Trinidad vegetable trading post and similarly situated facilities shall undergo the required RT-PCR testing as arranged by the concerned local government unit. Negative RT-PCR test results shall be valid for 7 days only.

Post-mortem RT-PCR test shall be done to patients who died at home with high index to suspicion for COVID-19 infection. By HENT