QC gov’t stops retail selling in crowded Balintawak markets

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Photo by Albert Bangayan/CNN Philippines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 11) — The Quezon City government ordered a stop to retail selling in the Balintawak markets after crowds were seen in the area on Saturday despite the Luzon-wide quarantine order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.

However, wholesale selling and drop-off, such as for vegetables and farm products, will continue, said Mayor Joy Belmonte. The affected markets are Cloverleaf, North Diversion, Riverview I, Riverview II, Pilson’s, MC and Edsan Bagsakan. Belmonte said she issued the order after speaking to the owners.

Napagkasunduan sa pulong na itigil muna ang retail operations o bentahan nang tingi sa mga palengke sa Balintawak,” said the mayor in a statement.

[Translation: We agreed in our meeting that we should temporarily stop retail operations or selling of products in small amounts in the markets in Balintawak.]

All retail stalls will close but the vendors can use the city’s jeepneys to sell their produce to different barangays through the “QC Fresh Market on Wheels” project. Retail shoppers will also be barred from entering portions of Samson Road and EDSA in front of the markets.

This comes after photos were shared showing the market packed with cars and people.

“Starting tomorrow, we expect the crowd to thin out in the area,” Belmonte said.

The mayor also pointed out that “more than half” of market-goers in Balintawak come from nearby cities.

The entire Luzon is currently under an enhanced community quarantine until April 30, meaning public transportation, some work and social gatherings are prohibited to contain the coronavirus disease.

In Quezon City, only certain areas are under "extreme enhanced quarantine." The city will start community-based testing for COVID-19 next week after it recorded over 600 confirmed cases on Friday.