BY ADRIAN P. NEMES
Christmas caroling on the streets of Bacolod City is prohibited.
The order came from Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who in Executive Order No. 81 he issued Wednesday, said that singing of Christmas carols to solicit money should be done virtually or in a household by family members.
Leonardia said that everyone is encouraged to hold Christmas and New Year gatherings with attendees limited to members of the family living in the same household.
If family members do not live in the same household, they can still get-together provided that the celebration is done outdoors with the observance of physical distancing and other minimum health protocols, Leonardia said.
He said immediate families not living in the same house must schedule their visit to avoid overcrowding while non-family related gatherings are highly discouraged.
During the gathering, there should be a person assigned to serve the food to avoid multiple people touching the serving spoon, plates, and other utensils.
Pregnant women and those with co-morbidities should be separated from the younger ones and other people who are considered to have high level of exposure, the order said.
People are advised not to exchange gifts, if possible, and if necessary, there should be alcohol and disinfectants in place while liquors should not be served.
The EO added that persons or establishments intending to conduct gift-giving activities must ensure that standard health protocols are observed.
It added that recipients of non-perishable gifts and package must wait 3 to 5 days before opening it as the coronavirus might still be present on the surface and they need to sanitize the package before opening it.
Attendees of religious activities are also advised to strictly follow health protocols.
Leonardia reiterated that people should minimize their exposure to other individuals or they must go on self isolation for 14 days before their planned family gatherings, avoid traveling to areas with higher quarantine classification, and refrain from touching surfaces.
Leonardia also said that individuals vulnerable to diseases should limit their participation in social gatherings this holiday, especially if they are sick. Appropriate penalties await those who knowingly break any of the health protocols implemented by the city government.*