GenSan allows reopening of malls, other businesses

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (File photo)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The city government has allowed shopping malls and other businesses to reopen starting Monday after temporarily closing them for over a week due to the implementation of the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ).

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera ordered the easing of some restrictions to help keep the local economy running and allow more residents to work as they cope with the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

He acknowledged that the local government needs to consider the economic situation and the sustenance of residents even as it tries to contain the increasing infections in the city.

Under Executive Order No. 26, which was released to the public on Monday, the local government increased the number of “essential retail trade and service establishments” that could operate until the end of the GCQ period on June 30.

Allowed are public markets, malls, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies or drug stores, hardware stores, office supply stores, bicycle shops, laundry shops, and water refilling stations.

Indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, cultural shows, and exhibits may open but should only admit 10 clients at a time and strictly comply with the minimum health standards.

Beauty salons, parlors, barbershops, and other related personal care service establishments may operate at a limited capacity.

Tricycles are now allowed to operate in all routes within the city to ensure the unhampered movement of essential workers.

Rivera said the City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases decided to make such adjustments to address the concerns of some sectors.

“We know that the GCQ has been difficult for some of our residents, especially those who have yet to recover from the effect of the lockdowns last year,” he said in a statement.

He, however, said they cannot also ignore the continuing surge of Covid-19 in the past weeks that has already affected the city’s health capacity.

To balance the situation, he said they decided to sustain the other restrictions set under previous executive orders such as the strict border control, “no movement Sunday,” curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., total liquor ban, barangay clustering to prevent non-essential travel, and market schedule.

He said dine-in services in food establishments remain prohibited and only take-out and deliveries are allowed.

“We will continue to review our (Covid-19) status every week and make the appropriate adjustments if the situation warrants,” Rivera said.

The City Health Office recorded 80 additional Covid-19 cases on Sunday night, bringing the active infections in the area to 681, the second highest in Region 12 (Soccsksargen).

The confirmed cases in the city since last year already reached a total of 3,717, with 2,914 recoveries and 122 deaths.

The average occupancy rate in the city’s seven referral hospitals for Covid-19 patients has dropped to 91.61 percent as of 9 a.m. Monday after reaching 100 percent a week ago but the intensive care units are now at full capacity while 61.54 percent of the mechanical ventilators are in use.

The city has a total of 308 allotted beds for confirmed and probable patients, with 225 in isolation, 60 in wards, and 23 in the ICUs. It has 14 mechanical ventilators. (PNA)

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