Mayor and bar owners meet

BAGUIO CITY – (8 April 2021)- A practical, implementable and sustainable action plan from the city’s bar owners is awaited on how said businesses could be stringently run after the temporary liquor ban is lifted on April 10.

This is after a virtual forum between and among the bar owners; Mayor Benjamin Magalong; Executive Assistant to the mayor, Atty. Althea Alberto and concerned offices last Tuesday afternoon.

Bar owners asked for an audience with the mayor as to Executive Order 47 imposing a temporary liquor ban, from April 4 to 10, 2021, saying they are struggling to keep their employees and businesses running.

The lessening of customers due to curfew hours, from 10PM to 4 AM; temporary restriction of travelers and tourists; and strict border control is lamented.

The mayor however countered this by saying that under General Community Quarantine rules, a liquor ban should be imposed. It was the LGU’s risk allowing you to operate under GCQ rules, he added.

Random inspection of the establishments by the Public Order and Safety Division also show lapses in the implementation of minimum public health standards. 

Mayor Magalong thus suggested that they either shape up their operations or consider diversifying to other lines of business.

He also informed business owners that the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines may not necessarily mean relief from restrictions. “We may continue to struggle for the next few years,” he said, as curfew, lockdowns, border and travel restrictions may still be imposed as part of the “new normal.”

City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) head Dr. Donna Tubera-Panes who joined the virtual meeting also presented statistics on the spike of Covid cases at least weeks after border controls and travel restrictions were relaxed. Transmissions are possibly alcohol-related during gatherings, she said.

It may be recalled that a group drinking spree caused a lockdown in a local village. It is not the alcohol intake that causes the transmission but that of letting down one’s guard, Dr. Panes said. When drinking, the face mask and shield are off, social distancing is disregarded and that’s when Covid-19 transmission may occur, when nasal and oral cavity fluids containing the virus from infected individuals may be breathed in

The restrictions are being done to prevent mortality, prevent the collapse of the health system, and to bring back the economy, Dr. Panes further said.

The business group vowed to attend closely to health protocols in their establishment, and meet the soonest with the mayor and other concerned agencies to improve their way of running their businesses. – Julie g. Fianza