CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Oscar Moreno has ordered the closure of all malls, except those providing basic needs such as food and medicines, in the city starting Tuesday (March 17) amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Exempted from the order are the pharmacies, groceries, and restaurants located inside the malls, he said.

Included in the closure are the movie houses and stores selling non-essential goods.

Moreno said the order was meant to discourage people from entering the city and enjoy themselves here.

“We remove the reason for them to come to Cagayan de Oro for non-essential activities,” he said.

Instead of putting the entire city on a lockdown or community quarantine, Moreno made the order meant to limit the movement of people but not depriving others to avail of government services.

“I know many want a lockdown. I understand and I agree with that, however, lockdown is not easy, technically,” Moreno told reporters during the daily press briefing held at the city hall Monday (March 16).

“I want to emphasize that it is important to stay at home, to impose restrictions upon ourselves, our movements,” he said.

Given that Cagayan de Oro is a convergent city, people from other areas usually come here for many reasons, such as for medical purposes and other transactions.

“We are the hub of the region. The hospitals are here, especially the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, regional offices, and ports,” he said.

To take effect on the same day as the closure of malls, Moreno said a curfew starting 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday will be implemented. It will end at 5:00 a.m. the following day.

The curfew also applies to bars and other places of entertainment in the city.

Moreno has also announced during the press briefing that the port authorities have allowed a commercial vessel from Manila bound for Nasipit, Agusan del Norte to dock at the Macabalan wharf early Monday.

He said the boat was denied entry at the Nasipit port urging the vessel to proceed to Macabalan.

Moreno said it was decided that the ship dock at the city’s port provided the passengers and boat crew undergo thermal scan and to subject themselves to self-quarantine once they get home.

According to a news report, the ship, owned and operated by 2Go, has 280 passengers and was first disallowed to depart from the port of Cebu City by the Phil. Coast Guard Sunday evening since Nasipit was on lockdown. (

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