Governor Arthur Yap has ordered the implementation of an “intensified” community quarantine and a “calibrated” lockdown in the province, directing all non-essential business establishments to suspend operations amid the growing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.
Yap on Tuesday signed Executive Order No. 18 that will enforce the directive which will take effect on Thursday, or 48 hours after signing.
The governor clarified that the heightened quarantine measures are not yet in effect, contrary to what was stipulated in a copy of the EO which was “mistakenly” released to the media by a Capitol communications executive.
Yap, in an interview over station dyRD, apologized for the blunder, saying that there was a mix-up on which version of the EO was to be released.
“The staff was wrong in releasing that because that was not authorized for release…Pero mangayo ko og pasaylo sa dyRD, mangayo ko’g pasaylo sa atong mga kaigsuonan sa pressure sa trabaho nato karon…na usahay naay mga posibilidad na there will be mistakes in the releasing, there will be confusion like this,” Yap said.
The EO’s implementation was initially supposed to take effect immediately after signing but the governor postponed the order’s effectivity date to give affected industries more time to prepare for the temporary shutdown of their businesses.
“After consultation, people asked us for some time. The one I really authorized is 48 hours, it is the not the [version] na effective immediately. We’re supposed to give some time to the affected industries to give time to people,” Yap said.
Based on the EO, all non-essential establishments are to be “closed and remain as such until the community quarantine is lifted,” which will be on April 12 according to a previous EO signed by Yap.
Meanwhile, the following are exempted from the mandated closure of businesses:
- Public Markets
- Supermarket, Groceries and Convenience Stores
- Hospitals, Medical Clinics, Medical Facilities, Diagnostic Centers and Laboratories
- Pharmacies and Drug Stores
- Water-refilling Stations
- Banks and Financial Institutions, including Pawn Shops, Money Transfer Services, Lending Agencies, Payment and Remittance Centers
- Public Utilities, including Power, Energy, Water and Telecommunications
- Gasoline Stations, including those selling LPG
- Funeral Parlors, provided that there is no public viewing and wakes are limited only to family members
- Restaurants, Fast Food Chains and other Food Establishments, provided that their operations shall be limited to take-out or delivery
- Media Establishments
- Shipping and Cargo Handling Companies and Services
- Agricultural Supply Stores
- Food Manufacturing and Food Processing Plants Facilities, including those production rice, grains, flour, wheat, meat, fish and other related products
- Hardware and Construction Supplies
The EO also stipulates that all of the exempted establishments will only be allowed to operate until 7 p.m., except for health facilities, pharmacies, public utilities, media establishments and shipping firms which may stay open for extended hours.
Public transportation will not be affected by the order as tricycles and other public utility vehicles will still be allowed to conduct operations provided that they observe the Department of Transportation’s capacity directive and social distancing directive.
Yap also clarified that he is willing to make amendments to the EO including which industries will be exempted from the order.
“If there is a need for amendment, we will amend it…I can include some industries, I can deduct some industries,” he said. “There is no perfect solution to this. The fundamental strategy has been laid out, but we have to be flexible.”
In a span of less than two weeks, Yap has implemented five drastic measures to prevent the spread of the disease in Bohol.
He placed the province under a community quarantine which prohibits the entry of sea and air travelers bound for the province and ordered suspension of classes in all levels, a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., a partial liquor ban and a 24-hour curfew for those aged 65 and above and minors.