The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has removed the unified window hours imposed during the enhance community quarantine to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Through an advisory date April 18, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año directed all local government executives to “discontinue the imposition of ‘narrow or limited window period’ on the access to and operations of public and private establishments such as wet markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, and pharmacies.”
He said the implementation of window hours will only encourage crowding in markets and groceries and defeat the purpose of the strict social distancing due to limited shopping time.
“The imposition of such restrictions further creates congestion of people who further flock to these establishments at the same time, and poses risks on the implementation of social distancing,” Año said.
The DILG chief said LGUs should do away with the limited hours in order to avoid attracting large groups of market goers during those times.
At the same time, Año urged local government units (LGUs) to rethink their strategies to ensure proper physical distancing in markets.
“LGUs are strongly enjoined to implement innovative measures to bring the market/goods closer to the people, subsequently limiting their movement and ensuring social distancing,” he added.
This, after the DILG received numerous reports that some LGUs had issued directives that restricted the operation of public and private markets.
Año said the public should be allowed ample time of 12 hours to purchase their basic essentials while observing social distancing.
To recall, some LGUs had set the market window hours from 6 am to 8 am, while others set it at 8 am to 10 am (Jerome Carlo R. Paunan/PIA NCR)