The province was under Enhanced Community Quarantine since March 17 and after two months, it transitions into GCQ as per National Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution Number 35.
In adherence to the national guidelines on GCQ, the local government crafted its localized version for phase one.
The guidelines cover persons not authorized to go out; reiteration on the wearing of face mask, other minimum public health standards, safety protocols in establishments, schedule of market day, establishments allowed and not allowed to operate, prohibition on mass gatherings,public transportation, public and private construction, Balik Probinsya, and employees entering the capital town.
Persons not allowed to go out are those aged 20 years old and below and 60 years old and above, those with immuno-deficiency co-morbidities or are at health risk, pregnant women. Coding is still in effect for Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR). Loitering is not also allowed.
Mandatory wearing of face mask in public places and conveyances is still in effect as per Ordinance No. 04-2020 with corresponding penalties for violators.
Apart from wearing of mask, minimum public health standards required are as follows; adherence to guidelines on sanitation, disinfecting, physical distancing; no wearing of shorts, slippers, sandals and sando in public places. Liquor ban, imposition of no smoking and no spitting of momma in public places are also in effect.
Safety protocols in work places and related areas are as follows: no mask, no entry policy; frequent sanitation and handwashing; avoid touching surfaces and face; stricter protocols for high-risk occupations, industries and spaces; social distancing at least one meter apart, re-configured work spaces, markers in public places, and no work if showing symptoms.
For business establishments allowed to open, these will only cater to clients/customers on their scheduled market day.
Market day is from 8:00AM to 6:00PM with indicated schedule per barangay. The assigned person per family to refill food stocks and attend to medical, banking, agricultural needs must secure color coded market pass slip from the barangay.
The market day schedule are as follows: Monday - Pico and Bineng; Tuesday - Balili and Alno; Wednesday - Poblacion, Beckel and Cruz; Thursday - Tawang, Alapang and Sablan; Friday - Puguis, Bahong and Wangal; and Saturday - Betag, Ambiong and Lubas.
Business establishments allowed to operate from Monday to Saturday, 8:00AM to 6:00PM are the following: La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center and other private vegetable trading areas, sari-sari store; food establishments only for delivery and take-out; grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, public markets, talipapas, gasoline stations; medical and dental clinics and law offices but on appointment basis; pet shops; agricultural stores; laundry shops for drop, pick and go only; water refilling stations; logistic service providers; hardware stores; construction supplies and aggregates; repair shops for motor vehicles on a drop, pick and go basis; auto supplies and accessories; office and school supplies; gadget stores; electronic and power supplies; iron and wood works; motorcycle and bicycle shops; glass and aluminum supplies; delivery services; and funeral services, barber shops and parlors for haircut only.
Other allowed establishments are the La Trinidad Public Market specifically the meat and fish sections, vegetable and fruits and sari sari and groceries; cutflowers and ornamental shops on schedule – Monday, Wednesday and Friday for odd number stalls and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for even number stalls; printing press; food processing and manufacturing centers and souvenir shops for food items only; stores selling dry goods; errand riders/delivery boys with travel pass secured from the Mayor’s Office; and online sellers with business permit from the local government.
Not allowed to operate are stores that sell second hand items such as wagwagan and surplus shop; computer shops; ambulant vendors; furniture shops; gyms/fitness studios and sports facilities; Karaoke bars, comedy bars, pub, beerhouses, bars; kids amusement industries, toy stores, playgrounds, playrooms, rides; and tourist destinations; travel agencies, tour operations, reservations and related activities; gambling and betting such as but not limited to cockfighting, casinos, and the like; personal care services such as massage parlors, sauna bath establishments, facial care, foot spa; and any amusement, leisure, gaming and tourism establishments that promote gathering.
Still prohibited are mass gatherings are such as weddings, church activities and assemblies or any similar crowd-drawing activities. Wakes/burials are limited to immediate families only. Running/jogging and zumba, sports and tourism activities are also prohibited.
For public transportation, as per Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board guidelines, public utility vehicle operators have to first secure a special permit at the LTFRB before operation. Physical/social distancing and use of face mask is mandatory.
Companies and agencies must provide shuttle services to their employees. Additional guidelines on public transportation will follow
On construction works for both public and private, there is a need to comply first with the Department of Public Works and Highways Order No. 25 on Construction Safety Guidelines for the implementation of all DPWH infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 public health crisis before project resumption. All minor house repairs and maintenance are allowed.
On the Balik Probinsya for those stranded and may want to go home to other municipalities, there are dedicated numbers which can be contacted depending on the areas where currently located.
For those situated in Alapang, Alno, Bahong, Bineng, Cruz, Shilan, and Wangal, the contact number is 0949-931-0814. For those who are now in Ambiong, Beckel, Balili, Lubas, and Tawang, the contact number is 0919-994-4132. For those in Betag, Pico, Puguis, and Poblacion, contact number is 0998-889-3973.
For employees entering the capital town, they are required to present valid local government/company ID or certificate of employment when flagged at the checkpoint. (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)
By Susan C. Aro