La Trinidad junks opening of bars, billiard centers

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal inter-agency task force denied the numerous requests of owners of bars and billiard halls to resume operation in the municipality primarily because of the existing restrictions imposed under the present community quarantine status aside from their numerous violations that had been documented in the past.

Mayor Romeo K. Salda stated that the decision not to allow the resumption of operation of bars and billiard halls was a collegial action of the municipal inter-agency task force and part of the preparations of the local government for the more infections Delta variant of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) which is expected to cause another surge in cases in the future if no drastic actions will be enforced.

He disclosed that when the task force allowed the operation of bars in the past, the police had documented violations of bars by operating beyond curfew hours, serving liquor to minors among others which is violative of the prescribed rules and regulations crafted to help contain the rapid spread of the deadly virus in the community.

Further, he added that the aforesaid violations were aggravated by the complaints lodged by the parents of minors who had been served liquor in the said establishments apart from the complaints of neighbors against the loud noise emanating from the said establishments and their operations until the wee hours of the morning.

The local chief executive narrated that some bar owners close their establishments at the start of the implementation of the curfew hours but they actually continue to serve liquor to their clients, including minors, that is why local police operatives simply take time to await the people to come out of the same to document their violations.

According to him, there were already closure orders that were issued by the municipal government against the erring bars over the past several weeks, thus, the municipal inter-agency task force decided not to allow the requested resumption of their operations during the implementation of the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

The task force also denied the request of owners of billiard halls to operate under the prevailing restrictions to help in prevenient from people to be going out of their residences with the emerging threat of the Delta variant and that the said establishment owners were advised to await further issuances from the national inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases before the task force will be able to decide on such request.

Mayor Salda asserted that the imposition of the 24-hour liquor ban in the whole municipality will remain even if Benguet is under MGCQ to avoid the occurrence of untoward incidents that might trigger future surges in cases aggravated by the possible entry of the Delta variant.

He called on the affected establishment owners to understand the decision of the municipal inter-agency task force not to allow their resumption of operation because what is being prioritized by the government is the health and safety of the people to avoid surges in COVID cases that might compromise the local health care system and stress the frontliners. By HENT

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