Cebu City eyes reopening of arcade centers 

SAFETY IN ARCADE CENTERS. Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera (right) presides over the meeting of Emergency Operations Center (EOC) officials with arcade gaming operators in Cebu City on Monday (March 8, 2021). The EOC will require arcade centers to implement health and safety protocols and to hire or appoint a health infection and prevention control officer once they resume operations, to prevent spread of Covid-19. (Photo courtesy of EOC)

CEBU CITY – Arcade operators in this city are working closely with the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the possible re-opening of coin-operated gaming centers in malls.

In a statement on Monday, the EOC said representatives from arcade operators presented to the city government their respective safety and health protocols that will be imposed on gaming patrons once they resume operations.

The EOC said the protocols established were based on the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to prevent spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In a meeting with EOC on Monday, arcade operators agreed to appoint a health infection and prevention control officer (HIPCO) who will ensure strict observance of minimum health standards inside the coin-operated entertainment centers in malls.

Executive Order 68 signed by Mayor Edgardo Labella in July 2020 directed business establishments in the city to hire or appoint a HIPCO as a prerequisite for the resumption of operations while the area is under quarantine.

As the establishment’s point-person in Covid-19 response efforts, the HIPCO’s main task is to ensure compliance with rules on physical distancing and wearing of face masks by both their workers and the gamers.

This week, the city, through the EOC, will provide training for arcade HIPCOs. This is in anticipation of their application for clearance to resume operations that could be issued this month.

Lawyer Jared Limquiaco, chief of this city’s Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO), said his department will conduct inspection on the arcade centers here to determine compliance with health protocols.

Last month, Limquiaco warned business processing outsource (BPO) centers in the city of the possible Covid-19 transmission in workplace pantries and smoking areas where employees tend to remove their mask while eating and puffing cigarettes with their colleagues. (PNA)

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