Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla on Monday, May 18, ordered all the malls in the province closed again just two days after they reopened from a two-month lockdown.
The governor said the malls failed to ensure physical distancing over the weekend, the first two days that Malacañang eased community quarantine restrictions in the province.
Cavite, a province of almost 4 million people, was under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) since mid-March, and transitioned to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting Saturday, May 16. It is the province next to Metro Manila in the south.
Under GCQ, provinces can allow establishments offering essential products and services to reopen, but with only half of their workforce and operations, and provided that safety measures are in place.
The ECQ policy of allowing only one person per household to go out for essential errands, using their quarantine pass, has been carried over under a GCQ setup.
All these rules were broken malls and customers over the weekend, the governor said in his early morning Facebook post on Monday.
Remulla said the mayors in the province endorsed the executive order he signed on Sunday night, May 17, to close the malls again until they are able to present plans on how to ensure physical distancing.
“All malls in Cavite are temporarily closed because they failed to enforce social distancing – outside the malls before opening and inside the malls when they operations resumed. We didn’t see any rules on social distancing in place,” Remulla said in Filipino.
He said mall managements were mistaken if they assumed that ensuring physical distancing in their establishment was still the responsibility of the police.
“Did you expect the Philippine National Police not to do anything else?” he said.
The governor pointed out that in a span of 4 days going into GCQ, from May 13 to 17, Cavite recorded 36 new positive cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the total to 275.
He called out residents whom he said abused their quarantine passes and work permits to be able to go malling. “These are not freedom passes.... These are not strolling passes,” he said.
He warned those who used work IDs to go out even if they weren’t on duty that he could have their permits cancelled if they abuse them again.
“Marami sa inyo ang magagalit sa akin. Mas mabuti na galit kayo sa akin at wala kayong COVID kaysa natutuwa kayo sa akin at nadadagdagan ang may sakit,” Remulla addressed his constituents.
(Many of you will get mad at me. I’d rather that you hate me but you’re COVID-free, than having you like while more people get infected.)
The outbreak is ongoing, he reminded them.
Cavite has a mass testing program in place, with a laboratory accredited by the Department of Health to process swab samples. It has 25 DOH-approved community isolation units for coronavirus patients with mild symptoms. – Miriam Grace A. Go/Rappler.com