LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government warned erring businesses, particularly those that were allowed to operate as food establishments, to refrain from secretly serving liquor to their customers to prevent the same from being closed for violation of the existing restrictions imposed by the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases under Alert Level 2.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda claimed that while it is true that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the municipality is on a down trend, it should not serve as a basis for residents and business owners to be complacent on the situation as the same might cause another surge in cases that might again compromise the local health care system.
Earlier, the local government allowed bars to operate as restaurants as part of the ongoing efforts to gradually and safely allow the local economy to be revived.
However, he admitted that there had been consistent complaints from concerned residents on some bars secretly serving liquor to their customers as evidenced by the proliferation of intoxicated individuals loitering in the town proper.
Further, the local chief executive added that what had been allowed is for bars to temporarily operate as restaurants to allow them to cope up with the effect of the ongoing pandemic to their businesses but not to serve liquor since it is not yet allowed under the prevailing community quarantine restrictions.
According to him, bar and restaurant owners met with some local officials and concerned department heads where they agreed to strictly comply with the implementation of existing restrictions to prevent them from being closed once the said establishments have been found to be violating existing regulations governing the Alert Level 2 where Benguet has been classified.
Mayor Salda asserted that restaurants are allowed to operate until 9 pm daily and that the said establishments are given up to 10 pm to wind up their operations in serving food to their remaining customers.
He stipulated that the local government will not hesitate to close the operation of the establishments that have been found to be grossly violating the guidelines governing the existing community quarantine restrictions to avoid untoward incidents that might cause future surges in COVID-19 cases that might be complicated with the emergence of the Omicron variant.
He disclosed that restaurants should police their own ranks to ensure their compliance to the prevailing restrictions and avoid incidents that could result to the closure of their operations because the local government wants the business sector to have the semblance of being able to start their operations even without serving liquor for the meantime so that their workers will be able to have stable sources of income and for the owners to also recover from the heavy impact of the pandemic.
He ordered concerned offices of the local government to constantly monitor the operation of the various establishments to ensure their sustained compliance to the implementation of the minimum public health standards as part of the efforts to help in allowing the potential revival of the local economy while dealing with the prevailing situation of the presence of mutations of the virus that might again trigger future surges in cases. By HENT