GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Authorities here have declared a “full alert” against violators of health protocols and other control measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), especially during the Christmas holidays.
Capt. Rissa Hernaez, the spokesperson of the city police office, said Monday they adopted the move in line with further easing of movement restrictions in the area in the past several days, which includes the lifting of the weekly localized lockdown known as “no movement Sunday”.
She said city police director Col. Gilberto Tuzon directed the eight police stations to heighten enforcement of minimum health protocols in all public places and establishments.
These include the wearing of face masks and face shields as well as the observance of safe physical distancing, she said.
“We declared full alert to ensure that the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and the city government’s protocols against Covid-19 are properly enforced,” she said in an interview with a local TV station.
With the lifting of the “no movement day” on Sunday, Hernaez said they observed the sudden increase of crowds in shopping malls, beaches, and even bars.
She said they found residents violating the mandatory wearing of face mask, face shield, safe physical distancing policy, and the prohibition on children aged below 15 years-old outside their homes pursuant to the IATF guidelines and Executive Order No. 54 of City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
Warnings and citation tickets were issued to violators as well as the erring business establishments, she said.
Hernaez said Tuzon ordered the increased presence of police personnel in public areas, including business establishments, to facilitate the proper enforcement of the Covid-19 health protocols.
The mandatory wearing of protective face masks and the practice of proper safe physical distancing were provided for in separate ordinances passed last April and May by the city council.
It sets fines of PHP2,000 to PHP3,000 and community service of three to nine days for the violators.
The city government further relaxed the Covid-19 restrictions here starting Dec. 1, among them the lifting of the Sunday lockdown and exemption of the traditional Christmas activities, especially the dawn masses or Misa de Gallo starting Dec. 16, to the 12 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew.
Last month, the local government reopened its borders to travelers from other areas through an executive order that extended the area’s modified general community quarantine status until Dec. 31. (PNA)