MANILA — Food deliveries are allowed "24/7" even in areas under the strictest quarantine level, Malacañang said on Wednesday, following a viral video that spawned questions on the rule.
The video shows an unidentified woman reprimanding a delivery rider, saying the "lugaw" or rice porridge he was set to deliver was not essential. "Mabubuhay ang tao nang walang lugaw," she said. The woman also cited night curfews.
(People can live without rice porridge.)
The enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal bans non-essential movement to curb a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The inter-agency task force leading the country's pandemic response earlier said "food preparation establishments such as commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, but limited to take-out and delivery" can operate at full on-site capacity during ECQ.
Clarifying the directive, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said, "Twenty-four/seven ang delivery."
(Food deliveries can operate 24/7.)
Asked if he meant hours in which food deliveries can operate, he said in a phone interview, "Oo."
"Lugaw, or any food item for that matter, is considered an essential good. Delivery of food items must remain unhampered 24/7. Huwag natin harangin sa checkpoints," Roque's office added in a statement.
(Let us not bar them at checkpoints.)
The interior department earlier urged homeowners groups to let food deliveries enter subdivisions, as these would allow people to stay home and reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure during food runs.
"We highly encourage our different homeowners’ association, do not impede the movement of food delivery sa inyong mga (in your) subdivision," Interior Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said on Monday.
The rider in the viral video appears affiliated with ride-hailing and delivery platform Grab, which he mentioned in the clip.
On its social media account, Grab urged the public to thank riders for ferrying essential needs and "for always following rules and guidelines whenever, wherever." It also offered a promo code for free delivery.
Metro Manila and its 4 surrounding provinces were placed under ECQ until April 4. The strictest of 4 lockdowns, ECQ allows only select industries to operate at full capacity, and bans mass gatherings.
President Rodrigo Duterte will decide on Saturday on whether or not to extend the ECQ.