DILG urges LGUs to remove window hours for grocery shopping during lockdown

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2020 09:17 PM

People wear masks inside a supermarket in Quezon City on March 12, 2020 as reports of a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 outbreak circulated on social media have people rushing to buy supply. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government urged local government units on Wednesday to lift policies on window hours for market and grocery trips since such a rule tends to gather more people at the same time.

Window hours should not be imposed by LGUs since it goes against the government’s call to observe physical distancing to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said.

“I’m advising all LGUs to lift the window hours for marketing or buying kasi pag naglagay ka ng window hours, kinukumpol-kumpol mo lang yung tao,” he said in a press briefing.

(When you put window hours, you’re making people gather in one place at the same time.)

Año said the public should be allowed to buy their supplies for 12 hours to avoid mass gatherings in markets.

While the national government did not set specify window hours or curfews for the month-long Luzon-wide lockdown, several LGUs took it on their own to add more restrictions to force people to stay at home.

In some towns and cities, locals need quarantine passes for market trips, and are also allowed to step out of their houses only for a certain period of time.

Año said there is no “hard rule” on the issuance of quarantine passes, but clarified that household representatives should be allowed to buy food and other basic needs even without such passes.

“With our without quarantine pass, ang tao ay dapat payagan bumili ng pagkain kapag siya ang representative ng pamilya sa pagbili ng pagkain,” he said.

(A person should be allowed to buy food if he or she is the designated person to buy food for the family.)

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles had said that quarantine passes should be distributed free of charge.

 “Walang bayad 'yang mga passes na 'yan. Huwag po natin abusuhin 'yan,” he said.

(Those passes are free. Let’s not abuse it.)