The “prohibition on gatherings and mandatory social isolation” in Executive Order 2020-05 is effective immediately and remains in place through March 30.
Additional “emergency measures” take effect at noon on Friday, March 20 and will also remain in effect until March 30.
“Any place of business or public accommodation shall close and be prohibited from on site operations,” states the order.
That will require many restaurants, bars and entertainment venues to close. However many others business are exempt and can remain open.
Among the businesses that must close are those that provide recreation, food and beverage services, theaters, bowling alleys, fitness centers and other similar businesses that attract crowds of people.
The governor, in a Special Address explaining her order, said the goal is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“With these developments, strong measures need to be taken. If you are young, healthy, and have mild symptoms, you can still spread the virus. Social distancing is meant to keep all of us healthy, especially the most vulnerable among us. The public must limit their movement and stay home,” the governor said.
Among the businesses that are exempt and can remain open are healthcare clinics and doctor offices, public transportation and utilities, as well as grocery and convenience stores.
Gas stations and banks can also remain open. Garbage collection will continue, among other businesses deemed essential.
The Governor’s Press Secretary, Krystal Paco San Agustin, says restaurants can still provide take out service or curbside delivery.
The Governor’s Chief Policy Adviser Carlo Branch said: “This is not a lockdown.”
“Movement in public is limited but not totally banned,” he said. “People can still go out and buy food, visit clinics, buy medicine and purchase essential supplies.”
The Executive Order reads in part:
“All public gatherings or congregations for purposes of public entertainment, recreation, food and beverage service, theater bowling, fitness and other similar activities to include all public venues in which the serving provision or consumption of prepared food or beverage occurs at a table bar for consumption within are prohibited beginning at 12 o’clock noon on March 20,2020.”
The Executive order allows for a wide number of exemptions including the following:
“This prohibition on operations shall not apply to the following: Healthcare operations, including home health workers; essential infrastructure, including construction of housing and operation of public transportation and utilities; grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores; businesses that provide for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities; pharmacies, health care supply stores, and health care facilities; gas stations and auto repair facilities; banks and credit unions; garbage collections; hardware stores, plumbers, electricians, and other service providers necessary to maintain safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses; educational institutions, for the purpose of facilitating distance learning; laundromats, dry cleaners; and laundry service providers; businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences; and roles required for any essential business to maintain basic operations, which include security, payroll, and similar activities.”