March 5, 2024

Restrictions imposed during the enhanced community quarantine may have been relaxed but the danger of being exposed to the virus that causes the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) remains.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said he will implement a calibrated lifting of protocols to protect the general population, especially the most vulnerable sectors of society.

Using the national GCQ protocol as guide, city planners modified some of the guidelines to suit the situation in the city. The draft guidelines were presented to the city council on May 11.

Among the sectors/areas that are allowed to operate/open on a limited scale by May 16 are the public market, supermarkets, and grocery stores; public transportation; auto supply and auto repair shops; IT and computer shops; construction; Burnham Park; salons and barbershops; medical, optical, EENT, and dental clinics; restaurants; fastfood restaurants; and bike shops.

As a general rule, sectors allowed to operate are still on a limited scale.

The public is required to wear masks at all times. Alcohol and other forms of disinfectants shall be provided by establishments and public utility vehicle operators; public transportation should be filled to half-capacity only; entry to Baguio is still limited; 24-hour curfew is still in effect; Sunday is lockdown day; and people 21 years old and below, senior citizens, pregnant women, and those who are immune-compromised are not allowed to go out except when necessary.

Supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, hospitals, and drugstores will continue to operate.

Sectors/businesses/industries allowed to operate from Monday to Saturday are public markets, food preparation and delivery services, water refilling stations, laundry services, manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products and medicines, banks, money transfer services, microfinance institutions, pawnshops, credit cooperatives, power, energy, water, telecommunication providers, business process outsourcing (provided that workers have shuttle service), agriculture supply stores, veterinary supply stores, veterinary clinics, electrical supply stores and repair services, bike shops, courier services, clinics, boarding houses, newspaper stands, online tutorial schools, construction accredited by the Department of Public Works and Highways,  and public transportation.

ICT and gadget stores; foreign exchange including PX stores; and the shoe, flower, and caldero sections at the city market are permitted to operate for six days but will be divided into two groups. Each group will operate for three days each.

Salons, load stations, infant/maternity sections (within malls and department stores), general merchandise, computer repair and household goods, watch repair, and welding shops will be allowed to operate thrice a week.

Those that will not be allowed to operate are department stores, RTW, and second hand clothing; souvenir shops; handicrafts; massage and spa services; amusement centers; gyms; fitness studios; accommodation for tourists and transients; Internet shops; face-to-face tutorial services; music classes; tobacco and jewelry section of the city market; ambulant and sidewalk vendors; libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural activities; gambling; travel and tours agencies; UV express; and activities of membership organizations, religious gatherings, and group functions.

In a press conference on May 13, Magalong also announced specific guidelines for operations in the market, transportation, and fitness/sports activities.

He said market days during the enhanced community quarantine will be same under the GCQ. Rolling stores, talipapa, and market to home delivery services will continue operating.

For public transportation, border control will still be strictly implemented. For buses/vans, only those with prior coordination with the city government for the transport of stranded students/residents from other LGUs will be allowed to enter.

Daily travelers from outside Baguio who are required to report to work by May 16 have to secure a travel permit. Returning residents have to pre-register online and follow other protocols. Commercial travel is disallowed.

For PUJs, only 180 units are allowed to operate in the meantime on rotation basis as arranged by their respective operators and drivers associations.

Fare rates should be those set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

PUJs from La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay are allowed to enter Baguio.

For taxicabs, only 300 units are allowed to operate beginning May 18. Drivers are required to install plastic or non-permeable sheet between driver and passenger, and a passenger must fill-up a log book for contact tracing.

Angkas in motorcycles is prohibited but may be allowed if passenger is the spouse.

For construction, contractors have to comply with some requirements of the city government, such as provision of quarantine facilities for their workers, submission of list of manpower and project duration, medical and health protocols, and medical certificate of workers.

For fitness and sports activities, Burnham Park will open beginning May 18 from 5 to 8 a.m. only. Jogging is permitted around Lake Drive and Athletic Bowl in a counterclockwise direction only.

Participants in zumba or group exercises should be limited to 15 only per group at designated areas around the park.

A separate quarantine pass should be secured specifically for fitness or sports activities.

The city government encourages those who cannot be accommodated at Burnham to use open spaces in their barangays provided they get a permit from the punong barangay and follow the same health protocols.

Recreational running along roads and streets are allowed between 4 and 8 a.m.

Golf clubs will open on June 1 but on a “play then leave” basis.

Medical clinics should accommodate clients preferably by appointment to avoid crowding. Water, running water, lavatory, and soap should be provided to patients and personnel. Doctors and their personnel are also required to wear personal protective equipment.

Restaurants may open for dining customers by June 1 but there should be no buffet meals and dining tables with protective cubicle dividers should be at least six feet apart and other medical, health, and sanitation protocols must be followed.

A technical working group composed of representatives of the City Planning and Development Office, City Tourism Office, Permits and Licensing Division, City Veterinary and Agriculture Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office, Baguio City Police Office, City Health Services Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, and the Traffic Management Division of the City Engineering Office will conduct random monitoring of establishments and sectors on a daily basis on the first week of the GCQ and three times a week on the succeeding week.

Establishments that violate the GCQ guidelines will be warned on first offense, will be imposed a fine of P2,000 and one month suspension on second offense; and their business permit will be revoked and pay and P5,000 fine on third offense.

Drivers of PUJs ferrying more than the required number of passengers shall be charged for overloading, reckless driving for putting the lives of passengers at risk, and violation of franchise plus P3,000 fine for the driver and P5,000 fine for the operator.

For complaints, call or text 0927-628-0798 and 0999-678-4335. – Rimaliza A. Opiña