BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
Bacolod residents heeded the call for “no movement” yesterday as streets emptied, most stores closed, and public transportation ground to a near halt as COVID-19 mass testing began in the city.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio appealed for a 4-day “no movement” weekend starting yesterday to stem the spread of COVID-19, while the mayors of three cities and one town in Negros Occidental also called on their constituents to stay home during their two-day Timeout Weekend starting tomorrow to Monday.
During the two-day Timeout Weekend initiated by the Negros Occidental provincial government, 5,000 COVID-19 tests will be conducted in Talisay, Silay and Bago cities and Murcia town.
The mass testing in Bacolod City is also targeted to cover 5,000 residents.
In Talisay City, Mayor Neil Lizares issued Executive Order No. 36, Series of 2020, imposing a two-day Timeout Weekend for COVID-19 mass testing.
He said target participants who test positive will immediately be brought to a facility for quarantine, while those who test negative will be required to stay at home for 14 days.
Lizares said for the duration of COVID-19 mass testing, the movement of people within the areas identified as testing sites will be restricted except for Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs).
The testing sites will be at the Talisay City Public Plaza, Barangay Zone 3 Covered Court, Barangay Zone 10 Covered Court, and Barangay Dos Hermanas Covered Court, he said.
Residents who are not target participants of the COVID-19 mass testing are discouraged to go out of their homes, he added.
The Talisay Public Market will be closed on Sunday, he said.
Mayor Mark Golez said there will be no citywide lockdown in Silay City, it will be business as usual, during the Timeout Weekend because of the lack of National Inter-Agency Task Force approval.
However, he called on Silay residents to continue to observe COVID-19 health protocols and to stay home if they have no important reason to go out.
Golez has ordered the lockdown of the entire Barangay Mambulac in Silay City for seven days starting today until September 5.
He issued the order because of the surging number of COVID-19 positive cases in Mambulac, Golez said.
As of Thursday, the barangay had 27 COVID-19 positive cases tagged as local transmissions and one death, he added.
Also locked down was a compound in Barangay Guinhalaran, Silay City, he added.
Bago City Mayor Nicholas Yulo said in the absence of the NIATF approval of a total lockdown, he is just “encouraging” everyone to cooperate by staying at home tomorrow and Monday while the mass testing is underway.
He is also appealing to private establishments not to open during the Timeout Weekend, and to public transport operators and drivers to refrain from plying their routes tomorrow and Monday, he added.
Murcia Mayor Gerry Rojas has also issued EO No. 88, Series of 2020 declaring a Timeout Weekend in his town tomorrow and Monday.
Residents of Murcia are strongly encouraged to stay in their houses and all public gatherings are prohibited during the two days, he said.
The mayor also temporarily suspended public transportation in his town and ordered the closure of non-essential stores.
Checkpoints will be set up at Murcia’s borders but national roads will remain open for the unhampered passage of essential goods, cargoes and APORs, the EO said.*