By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Thursday ordered the strict implementation of the wearing of proper face masks in public places with the transition of Metro Manila from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ) on June 1.
Belmonte warned the public that stricter quarantine protocols will be enforced to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Dahil face mask ang isa sa pangunahing depensa laban sa COVID-19, paiigtingin natin ang kampanya upang masanay ang lahat na magsuot nito sa mga pampublikong lugar (Since a face mask is one of the primary defenses against COVID-19, we will strengthen the campaign to make people get used to wearing them in public places),” said Belmonte.
The Metro Manila Council (MMC) has recommended to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) the shift to GCQ by June 1.
To recall, Belmonte issued Executive Order No. 25, Series of 2020 in April, requiring residents to wear any form of covering for the nose and mouth, including medical masks, industrial masks, earloop masks, or even do-it-yourself masks, in all public places.
She cited the latest study by the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) that emphasizes the importance of wearing a face mask in public places to prevent the spread of the virus.
In its new study, Belmonte said the CDCP suggested that the transmission of COVID-19 could be cut significantly if people follow this advice.
According to researchers, universal masking flattens the curve significantly more than maintaining a strict lockdown.
Belmonte has tasked the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), all barangay officials, the Department of Public Order and Safety, Task Force Disiplina, the Market Development and Administration Department, and other concerned offices of the local government to enforce the order.
Unlike before where authorities were lenient to violators by giving them face masks, Belmonte said that “residents without one while in a public place will now be automatically penalized.’’