MANILA - Food delivery services may continue to operate during Luzon's month-long enhanced community quarantine as they help keep people indoors, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday as government enforced stricter restrictions on movement to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak.
Food deliveries will be allowed to ensure that people going out to buy food will be limited, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will continue, Lopez said in a televised press briefing.
"Nabanggit ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte kahapon na tulungan natin ang maliliit na negosyante. May mga karinderya at mga magdadala ng pagkain kasi we encourage stay home so dapat may mga ganung facility din tutal uso ang mga delivery apps," he said.
(President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned yesterday that we should help small entrepreneurs. There will still be food stalls and food deliveries because we encourage people to stay home so there should be that facility, and besides delivery apps are popular.)
Lopez said other areas which imposed a similar coronavirus-related lockdown allowed deliveries provided that a "no contact system" is in place.
Under a "no contact" delivery scheme, the customer and the delivery crew are not allowed to transact directly. Packages will have to be placed at the customer's gate and/or reception area, while payments should be done online or placed in envelopes that will be picked up by the delivery crew.
"At least may hanapbuhay pa din ang mga MSMEs natin. 'Yung delivery din may hanapbuhay pa din ang mga courier," Lopez said.
(At least MSMEs are still in business, couriers still have livelihood.)
Officials earlier suspended work, classes and public transportation and barred dining in restaurants to avoid the spread of COVID-19 under an enhanced community quarantine. Health officials earlier said the virus is transmitted through the transfer of droplets from an infected patient.
As of March 16, 142 people in the country have contracted the disease. Twelve died, 3 recovered, while the rest remain confined in hospitals.
The Philippines is under a state of public health emergency as the government continues to find ways to contain the global epidemic which has killed 5,000 people and infected 150,000 others worldwide.