The medical community and law enforcers made impassioned appeals to the members of the City Council not to loosen the quarantine controls at this time while the Dumaguete City is still under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine and the number of active COVID-19 cases is still fluctuating.
These appeals were expressed in this morning’s meeting of the Committees on Rules and Health about the proposed resolution requesting for the local Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow 10% indoor dine-in and 50% outdoor dine-in services for restaurants and eateries; for barbershops and salons to operate at a limited 30% venue capacity and for religious denominations to operate at a limited 30% venue capacity.
Under MECQ, restaurants, eateries and other food establishments are not allowed to provide dine-in but only takeout and delivery services are allowed.
Negros Oriental Medical Society President Dr. Joven Occena said that given the number of COVID cases granting excuses for restaurants to offer dine-in services will not be viable at this time especially that the bed occupancy of the hospitals for COVID patients remains high.
In fact, it is even necessary to minimize the movement of people rather than finding ways to allow them to go to restaurants when the daily attack rate of COVID-19 is still 20% when it should be below 8%, Occeña said.
Dr. Kenneth Coo said that the doctors are not in favor of the proposal since the nature of dine-in restaurants is an act violating the health protocols since you need to take of your mask when you eat in public.
City Health Officer Dr. Maria Sarah B. Talla stressed the need to follow the protocols and guidelines of MECQ and since we are still trying to control the spread of COVID-19 in the community it is not prudent to ease the restrictions in movements.
Dr. Talla appeals for business sector to be patient because when COVID-19 cases would go down and the MECQ status of Negros Oriental is lifted certain restrictions may be eased to allow resumption of operations in a limited scale.
City Executive Assistant for Security Concerns retired General Rey Lyndon Lawas, who heads the Health Marshals, noted that the transmission of COVID-19 could happen in restaurants and personal care services based on the timelines (of places visited) of previous COVID patients.
In his remarks, City Legal Officer Manuel Arbon stressed the need to follow the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued last May 20, 2021 by the National IAT, which in effect repealed the DTI advisory on limited dine-in for restaurants.