Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte has set new health guidelines to keep the government, private offices, and businesses open during the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) in the city.

In her latest Executive Order No. 47 issued on August 4, 2020, Mayor Inday Sara Duterte said there is a need to keep the city open and for government, private offices, and business establishments operating.

“It is important to find a balance so people can continue to live, work and do business in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic,” she said in her EO.

In her EO, the four essential health practices to prevent contracting the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) must be followed at all times:

1) stay home,

2) wear a face mask,

3) stay at least one meter away from other people, and

4) frequent handwashing with soap and water.

Face shields are optional to the general public but are mandatory for a) offices and establishments where there is a high volume of people moving inside the premises and b) where the job of the worker puts him in close contact with other individuals as per Section 2(b) of the EO.

Those in the vulnerable sector or persons below 21 years old, senior citizens, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks and pregnant women are still required to stay at home all the times except for those who are working, accessing essential goods and services when they need to report in educational institution except for the purpose of face-to-face classes and indoor and outdoor non-contact sports.

They are also prohibited from entering malls and shopping centers except for essential goods and services or work inside the establishments.

As announced earlier, Mayor Sara also eased movement restrictions by lifting the use of the Food and Medicine (FM) pass and the curfew.

The liquor ban stays until it is lifted.

Under Section 4 of the EO, all religious gatherings in the city must be limited to 50 percent seating capacity of the venue.

The venue management and event organizer must keep complete contact details of all employees and guests per event. They are also encouraged to use applications as advised by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Memorandum Circulars (MCs).

Whenever required by the City Health Office (CHO), the management and event organizer must make the electronic database of a certain event available to contact tracers.

For offices and establishments as per Sec. 5 of the EO, the Joint Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) interim guidelines on workplace prevention and control of COVID-19 dated April 30, 2020, shall be their guide.

Employers are prohibited from forcing employees who are unwell to report to work and they must be referred to the company designated medical specialist for check-up and validation of their claims of illness.

Rapid testing kits should not be used as a tool to clear an employee back to work. If the doctor’s opinion is to require testing, the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test will be the standard testing tool

They should also develop additional protocols to protect their employees and clients.

For restaurants and all other similar food establishments, they should be guided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-39 July 17, 2020, Increasing the Operating Capacity for Dine-in Food Establishments, Amending for the Purpose DTI MC No. 20-37, Series 2020.

Under Section 7 of the EO, cockpits, beerhouses, and other establishments whose primary business is serving liquor, kids’ amusement and play areas are still not allowed to operate per DTI MC 20-44.

As to educational institutions, face-to-face learning is still prohibited. All private and public educational institutions from kindergarten to postgraduate studies are ordered to prepare to implement a blended learning system until December 31, 2020, and for a possible extension until April 30, 2021.

“Any three or all of the following can be implemented simultaneously to deliver education: synchronous and asynchronous platform, offline (use of electronic mail or e-mail, messaging tools, USB flash drive, etc.), modular printed materials, TV, radio broadcast, and other modes of instruction.”

However, beginning September 1, 2020, higher education institutions including post-graduate courses can conduct face-to-face examinations provided that minimum public health standards are followed.

For public and private transportation, all vehicles must implement physical distancing inside their units and must keep their windows halfway open to allow air to circulate inside their units.

Private hospitals shall be on deck to open their facilities to suspected and confirmed positive COVID-19 patients. They will be properly informed by the City Government and DOH when they shall be operationalized as a COVID-19 hospital, and thus prepare for the possibility to be designated as one.

The guidelines in the latest EO are harmonized with the guidelines of the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Omnibus Guidelines issued on July 16, 2020. CIO