BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia will issue an executive order this week allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical and data analysis of the Emergency Operations Center, said yesterday.
Sorongon said this is in response to the appeal made by businessmen, particularly the members of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Negros Occidental last week, to lift the partial liquor ban to help the industry that has been greatly affected by the Covid pandemic.
He said the trial period for the mandate allowing the drinking of alcoholic beverages in restaurants, hotels, and other establishments will be until the end of the month and its continuity depends on the decision of Leonardia, adding that it will be stopped once Covid cases surge.
Sorongon clarified that while public drinking will be allowed, establishments serving liquor are urged to police their own ranks and ensure that their customers abide with the minimum health protocols.
LOSS OF JOBS
A joint position letter of HRANO, the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Resort Association of Negros Island earlier said the community quarantine due to the pandemic has triggered loss of jobs and livelihood for many, adding that many businesses, including small and micro enterprises, were forced to close and left many workers jobless, especially in the tourism sector.
HRANO director Roberto Magalona said many restaurants are now trying to get back and operate again with reduced capacities but these establishments should be spared from the existing partial liquor ban.
Magalona said many restaurants only offer liquor as a side-drink, and their customers would only order a few drinks and immediately leave after dining, unlike in beerhouses and clubs where alcoholic beverages are their main offerings.
Purchase of alcoholic beverages and their consumption in private residences is from noon to 6 p.m., based on E.O. 2, issued by Leonardia last month.
Meanwhile, Sorongon said that businessmen in Bacolod pledged to use the city’s baCTrac system and will no longer allow customers to enter their establishments without it, whether they are residents of the city or not, effective March 1. He said they discouraged the use of logbook as this can be a source of transmission because the customers use the same pen, and only a few establishments submit it to the EOC religiously.*