Cebu City reimposes closure of night bars to stop spread of Covid

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The Cebu City government again ordered the closure of night bars due to a surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, the acting mayor said.

The order comes 80 days after the city government lifted the said ban.

However, Vice Mayor Michael Rama, in a radio interview on Tuesday, clarified that tourism establishments can serve liquors to their “in-house guests” if their operations are covered by guidelines issued by other institutions such as the Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Rama released Monday an executive order reimposing the ban on selling liquor to the public as well as adjusting the curfew hours to prevent residents from going out of their homes during the night.

“As part of the precautionary and safety measures against Covid-19, a liquor ban is hereby imposed in all public places within the City of Cebu for a period of one month from the effectivity of this Executive Order,” Executive Order No. 136 signed by Rama on Sunday read.

The order categorically prohibited hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, “sari-sari” stores and other establishments from serving intoxicating liquor in any public place in the city.

“It’s more of a service and dispensing of liquor that we prohibit. Even in the barrios, dispensing of intoxicating drink in weekends should not be allowed during the period of the ban, and residents must observe that,” the acting mayor said in Cebuano.

In response to the city police’s recommendation, Rama ordered the adjustment of curfew from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. of the following day.

The curfew hours apply “to all persons and business establishments authorized to operate” but the order exempts “authorized persons outside residence (APOR), those working in BPOs (business process outsourcing) and other industries such as food and essential deliveries allowed to operate beyond the curfew hours, health workers, and government agencies providing front-line and emergency services.”

Rama said the new order has fostered convergence as it directed the Emergency Operations Center, Business Permit and Licensing Office, Philippine National Police’s Cebu City Police Office, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement (PROBE) team to implement the new measures.

He said he also talked with the mayors of the neighboring cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, as well as Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for a possible harmonization of policies to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“Further, barangay officials and other force multipliers are likewise mandated to implement the full extent of this Executive Order within their respective areas of jurisdiction,” the order read.

The acting mayor said the city will conduct a review to determine if there will be a need to continue imposing these measures.

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