Grab, Food Panda halt services amid enhanced Luzon quarantine
Robie de Guzman • March 17, 2020 • 892
MANILA, Philippines – Ride-hailing firm Grab on Tuesday announced it is suspending all its services, including ride booking, food and package delivery services in Luzon in line with the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in the entire island.
“To safeguard communities from COVID-19, we are temporarily pausing GrabCar, GrabFood, and GrabExpress operations in Luzon from March 17 until further notice,” the firm said in a message on its app.
“We’ll keep you updated as we find ways to continue serving your needs. Stay safe!” it added.
In a separate advisory, Grab said it is also suspending its GrabTrike service in Luzon.
It, however, assured its customers it is working with the government on finding ways to continue serving Filipinos during this health crisis.
“We are one with the government in combating the viral spread, and are working with the different government agencies to find ways to continue serving the needs of Filipinos during these times,” Grab said.
Prior to the declaration of enhanced community quarantine on Monday night, Grab suspended its GrabShare service in compliance with government efforts against the spread of novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, food delivery service FoodPanda also announced the temporary suspension of its operations.
“We’re unavailable right now. FoodPanda has suspended its services in Luzon until further notice. Please check back soon,” it said in a notification on its app.
Under the enhanced community quarantine, the government has restricted the movement of people by implementing strict home quarantine. Only one person per household will be allowed to get out to buy basic needs.
Mass gatherings are prohibited, and classes and all school activities in all levels are also suspended until April 14.
Operations of public transportation, including MRT, LRT and Philippine National Railways, public utility vehicles, are also suspended.
Work in the executive branch shall be in a work-from-home arrangement except for the uniformed personnel, health and emergency frontline workers, border control and other critical services.
Establishments that are allowed to operate are only those that provide basic necessities such as supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, hospitals, medical clinics, water-refilling stations, banks, money transfer, services, food preparation and delivery services, and power, energy, water and telecommunications supplies and facilities.
The enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon will be in effect from March 17 to April 13.
Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.
“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.
The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.
Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.
He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.
“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
Areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) might be put under General Community Quarantine by June, according to the Deparment of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
In a virtual press briefing on Tuesday (May 26), DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said they are looking into implementin lockdowns in specific areas with high coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
“Kahit iyan ay naka-GCQ, pwede pa rin mag-declare ang mga local chief executive ng critical areas. Ito iyong mga lugar na mayroong 20 or plus na cases, (Even if [the area] is under GCQ, local chief executives can still declare critical areas. These are areas with 20 or plus cases)” he said.
There will also be lesser number of checkpoints by June, the DILG secretary added. From checkpoints situated in every boundaries of cities, it will be limited to specific areas.
“Mayroon tayong tinatawag na modified checkpoints para hindi na masyadong magbuhol-buhol ang trapiko, (We have something that we call modified checkpoints to ease the traffic)” Año said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
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