DILG asks LGUs to remove window hours for grocery trips during lockdown

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2020 02:00 PM

Photo by Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA-- The Department of the Interior and Local Government has asked local government units to lift policies on window hours for market and grocery trips as it poses a risk on physical distancing measures.

In an April 18 advisory, the DILG discouraged LGUs from imposing a "narrow or limited window period" on the access to supermarkets, wet markets, grocery stores, and pharmacies.

"The imposition of such restrictions further creates congestion of people who flock to these establishments at the same time, and poses risks on the implementation of social distancing," the DILG said.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya however told ABS-CBN News that the advisory is "subject to adjustments depending on local conditions."

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año previously said that 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.

Instead of imposing window hours, the DILG urged local governments to provide schedules for market trips for villages to avoid overcrowding.

Local governments were also asked to find "innovative" ways to bring basic goods closer to the public to further limit their movement as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

Among the measures suggested by the DILG are online marketing and delivery of goods, community markets in subidivisions, and mobile "palengke" (market) where vehicles with market goods can make rounds in residential communities.

Millions of people were forced to stay home since March 17 as the government implemented community quarantine measures to arrest the spread of COVID-19.

The lockdown, which was supposed to end on April 12, was extended to April 30.