GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The city government urged business establishments here to have their employees vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the wake of the increasing infections in the area.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera made the call on Tuesday as the city continues to expand its vaccination capacity amid the threats posed by the spread of the new Covid-19 variants, especially the dreaded Delta strain.
In an executive order (EO), the mayor enjoined establishments that are allowed to operate under the prevailing general community quarantine (GCQ) to have their employees and service crews fully vaccinated.
He specifically cited workers assigned to serve clients and customers through direct face-to-face contacts.
Rivera also asked concerned business establishments to provide special lanes to inoculated individuals.
“All establishments are enjoined to give preference to customers/clients that could present their vaccination cards, proving their being already vaccinated,” he said in EO No. 35.
The city vaccination activities presently cover individuals under priority groups A1 (frontline health care workers), A2 (senior citizens), A3 (persons with comorbidities), and A4 (essential private and government workers).
Under the mayor’s amended EO, most business and economic activities are already allowed in the city, although with some limitations, as provided for in the GCQ guidelines set by the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
But Rivera said business establishments are mandated to strictly comply with the minimum health standards, especially the wearing of face masks and face shields and the observance of safe physical distancing for employees and their clients.
He said restaurants and other food-related establishments are only allowed up to 30 percent of their capacity for dine-in services and 50 percent for alfresco or outdoor dining.
Early this month, the city government allowed the reopening of bars and related businesses and partially lifted the liquor ban in the city in response to clamors from affected business owners and workers.
It also allowed public Zumba workouts and other related non-contact activities to resume effective last Aug. 20 but subject to compliance with the health protocols.
The city is currently under Alert Level 4 due to the increasing locally transmitted Covid-19 cases and the threat from the Delta variant.
The City Health Office reported the active Covid-19 cases in the area at 877 as of Monday night, one of the highest since last year.
The confirmed infections in the city since March 2020 already reached a total of 9,325, with 308 related deaths and 8,140 recoveries. (PNA)