Consistent with relevant issuances of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the Quezon City government has designated several open-air locations in the City as ‘Child Friendly Safe Zones’ where minors five years old and above can engage in outdoor activities, non-contact sports and exercise.
In her Memorandum, Mayor Joy Belmonte identified Quezon Memorial Circle and Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife among the parks that can be designated as Child-Friendly Safe Zones, alongside several City-owned parks managed by the Quezon City Parks Development and Administration Department (PDAD), including some parks inside residential subdivisions.
Aside from these, Belmonte said the Quezon City Business Permits Licensing Department (BPLD) could also designate Safe Zones, including outdoor activity areas, swimming pools, tourist sites, al fresco dining or other open air areas in malls or other commercial establishments.
Belmonte said the move is also in accordance with UNICEF Philippines’ call to local governments to allow children to play and conduct sports and exercise in outdoor areas, to promote their physical and mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After months of being confined inside their houses, we saw the need to give minors a chance to go out and get some fresh air in outdoor areas that are deemed safe,” said Belmonte.
Also in her Memorandum, Belmonte said minors five years old and above may enter the Safe Zones for purposes of non-contact activities such as outdoor playtime, games, sports, exercise, outdoor swimming or other leisure activities, and for al fresco dining, but they should be accompanied by a fully-vaccinated adult guardian.
Under the guidelines, a “fully vaccinated” adult is one that has completed the prescribed number of COVID-19 vaccine doses at least two weeks prior, as shown by a duly-issued vaccination card and any Government-issued ID.
“The adult guardian should be able to present the vaccination card and ID at any time upon request,” Belmonte said, adding that groups that converge within the safe zones may not exceed 10 persons.
As of now, there are 19 Safe Zones, but representatives of other parks and other similar suitable outdoor areas may apply with the PDAD or BPLD to be declared as such.
Once designated as a Child-Friendly Safe Zone, a Zone Administrator would be assigned who shall be responsible for the zone, determine the reasonable capacity limitation for each zone, and enforce health protocols within the zone, such as use of face masks, maintaining physical distancing, regular disinfection of high-touch objects, and the use of contact tracing systems as feasible.
“The Zone Administrator is also encouraged to implement an hourly scheduling system, or the like, to ensure compliance with capacity limits. The Zone Administrator should employ marshals to patrol the zone and remind visitors of health protocols whenever necessary,” Belmonte said.
The Mayor said the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) may recommend the revocation or modification of a location’s designation as a Child-Friendly Safe Zone in case of widespread violations of health protocols or COVID-19 outbreaks. The operation of the zone would also be suspended if its location is placed under Special Concern Lockdown.
Belmonte mandated the PDAD, BPLD, Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), Quezon City Police District (QCPD), the CESU, other concerned Departments of the Quezon City Government, and the Barangays to undertake inspections to verify compliance with the Memorandum.
“Failure to comply may result in the revocation of designation as Child-Friendly Safe Zone,” said Belmonte.