In Pagadian, COVID-19 measures shutter massage parlors, detail GRO conduct in bars

/ 03:56 PM March 16, 2020

PAGADIAN CITY, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR—The city government issued detailed orders to allow the operation of bars and restaurants but shuttered massage parlors or clinics which the mayor said was at high risk of COVID-19 infection because of the “nature of their business.”

Mayor Samuel Co said in Executive Order No. 14, which he issued on Sunday (March 15), that workers at massage clinics or parlors were most vulnerable in catching COVID-19 because they have to be in close contact with customers and could not keep a safe distance.


“The nature of their work demands constant body contact with customers,” said the mayor in a meeting with the city’s COVID-19 Task Force.

He said it would also be nearly impossible for masseurs or masseuses to constantly disinfect themselves after every customer and could help in transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19.


Co said shuttering massage joints during the duration of the public health emergency was the more prudent thing to do since the local government and national government line agencies did not have enough people to monitor these businesses.

Co said, however, that he would meet with the task force to evaluate the impact of his order and consider assistance to massage joint workers.

The mayor did not declare a community quarantine in the city but gave detailed guidelines to restaurants and bars, night clubs, videoke bars and similar establishments to continue operating.

The order bars the use of beer towers, or beer bowls that would have drinkers share glasses.

Waiters, cashiers and attendants are to wear masks while guest relations officers, singers and entertainers would be barred from sitting with customers, the mayor’s order said.

The city government would continue operating but a glass divider would be installed in receiving areas to prevent direct contact between city employees and the public.

The mayor also ordered funeral homes to sanitize their facilities regularly and limit visitors at wakes to 40 people at any given time.


“If we lock down the city all the towns nearby will be greatly affected,” he said. Checkpoints, he added, are already in place.

The city measures were in stark contrast with those taken by the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur.

At noon on Wednesday (March 16), Gov. Victor Yu already ordered all the province’s borders closed.

Yu placed the entire province on community quarantine to suspend all land, sea and air transportation into the city from other provinces, Metro Manila and abroad.

Jeesrel Himang, provincial information officer, said checkpoints were placed at all entry points in the province.

Residents of the province would be allowed entry after filling up declaration forms and submitting themselves to 14-day quarantine.

Yu said, however, that the quarantine would not hinder movement of goods and supplies and travellers leaving.

The governor’s order warned violators against criminal and administrative prosecution “if warranted by existing laws.”

In an earlier order, the provincial government already suspended all classes and cancelled all public gatherings.

Edited by TSB

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