The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and several provinces in Luzon has again been extended by the government for two more weeks until May 15.
And this has led Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Willie Marcial to reiterate his earlier pronouncement that the league’s entire 45th Season could be reduced to a mere conference.
Or, when worse comes to worst, to cancel everything in case of failure to effectively curb the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“We may really have to play one conference if the ECQ continues to get extended,“ Marcial said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
“And we’re also not ruling out the possibility of having to cancel the whole 2020 season,” Marcial said rather emphatically.
The PBA board of governors’ planned on-line conference on April 30, the timeline set by the government for the first ECQ extension, has, in fact been done away, the league’s commissioner disclosed.
“This is because even if the ECQ is lifted, it doesn’t mean we can hold games immediately,” he explained.
“Teams will need no less than a month to prepare and regain their competitive form,” Marcial emphasized.
“And also, we don’t think the government will already allow mass gatherings by that time,” he pointed out.
“Fans will thus be subjected to an extended wait,“ Marcial presumed.
“Hindi pa rin natin talaga masasabi kung ano mangyayari hangga’t wala pang katiyakan na may gamot na nga para malabanan ang Covid-19.”
He said even granting that mass gatherings would be permitted, “we also have to think of the fans’ safety as well as the health concern of everybody involved in the games like games and team officials.”
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr., in announcing that a general community quarantine (GCQ), which will be imposed starting May 1 in select areas not included under the extended ECQ, said will be the new normal until a vaccine for the coronavirus is developed.
“We are no longer back to normal as we know it. The GCQ is the new normal,” he said. “As long as there is still no vaccine, we cannot go back to normal as we know it.”
As announced, the PBA falls under businesses, which include those operating under leisure, amusement, gaming and fitness; “kid” industry; and tourism will still be closed.
This also covers mass gatherings in schools, malls and construction.
Other restrictions, including curfews, will also be imposed.
“We’ve always thinking about the safety of the fans, the players, the management and everyone involved in the PBA’s operations,” Marcial reiterated. (Reprinted from Manila Times )