BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
A total liquor ban may be imposed anew in Bacolod to arrest the continuing surge of coronavirus infections in the city, Dr. Chris Sorongon, Emergency Operations Center deputy for data and medical analysis, said yesterday.
The EOC had a virtual meeting yesterday, attended by Sorongon, Mayor Evelio Leonardia, and City Administrator Em Ang, where they came up with a decision to impose a total liquor ban again in the city as one measure against the increasing number of local cases of Covid-19.
Previously, wine, beer and other alcoholic or intoxicating beverages may be purchased and consumed in public places in Bacolod from noon to 6 p.m. only, but the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Negros Occidental and the Resort Association of Negros Island had appealed to ease the liquor ban in February after the Covid cases dropped in the city.
Currently, drinking of liquors in restaurants, hotels, and similar dine-in establishments is allowed from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sorongon said it is time for the resumption of the total liquor ban, especially because local cases continue to increase on a daily basis, triggered by parties, weddings, and events since February while people flock to bars and restaurants.
He said that new index cases were also caused by exposure to Authorized Persons Outside Residence and locally stranded individuals infected with Covid.
Bacolod recorded 50 new cases of Covid on Wednesday, the highest, so far, in five months with 13 new recoveries, bringing the total number of active cases to 314, the Department of Health in Region 6 reported.
Sorongon said there are still available facilities in hospitals for Covid patients as the utilization rate is only 47 percent, contrary to claims that rooms were fully utilized due to the increasing cases.
The government-run Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital has allocated 30 percent of its rooms for Covid patients, and 20 percent in private hospitals, he said.
Meanwhile, executive assistant Ernie Pineda and Barangay 17 Captain Rogelio Pabiana Jr. led the orientation on Burgos Market vendors on “market mechanisms” to control and contain the surge of Covid in marketplaces and surroundings, during a meeting at the Barangay 17 Hall yesterday.
Pineda also held a similar activity at the Annex Building of Libertad Market, where P/Lt. Col. Lester Leada, head of the Operations Management Unit of the Bacolod City Police Office, discussed the role and action plan of Task Force Market Disiplina. The event was attended by members of the City Legal Office enforcement teams, headed by P/Senior Master Sergeants Emmanuel Alonsagay, Ben Tajonera, and Dante Medecielo, and P/SSG Jacob Israel Gustilo. Michelle Malubay and Jonah Abao, supervisors of the Burgos and Libertad public markets, respectively, were also present.*