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The city government worked out the reopening of the night market along Harrison Road targeted to start on Dec. 1 to address the plight of the over 1,000 vendors whose livelihood were affected by the closure of the business activity because of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said this is part of the city’s “new normal direction” of reopening the economy to restore the people’s livelihood side by side with the adoption of strict health and safety protocols as safeguard against the disease.
Market Superintendent Fernando Ragma Jr. said ground preparations had started ensuring that the physical arrangement will be compliant with the health standards particularly disallowing the erstwhile congested condition and allowing enough space for customers pursuant to the physical distancing rules to prevent disease transmission.
Stall measurements will be adjusted from 1.5 meters (m) by 1.5 m to 2 m by 2 m and the erstwhile five lanes will become three to allow more space for customers. The alleys will also be widened to five meters enough to fit a fire truck.
The City Engineering Office under City Engr. Edgar Victorio Olpindo had begun repainting the markers and fixing the lighting system in the area.
Ragma said a set of operational guidelines had been submitted to the mayor for approval.
As proposed, operation time will be from 8:00PM-11:30PM as agreed to by the Baguio City Police Office under City Director P Col. Allen Rae Co.
Only 50 percent will be allowed to open per week thus the vendors will be divided into two groups to vend alternately.
There will be a total of 481 concessionaires (433 dry goods and 48 food) to be allowed to operate in a day.
Health and safety protocols had also been crafted with the Baguio City Market Authority task force and the City Health Services Office Sanitation Division under Engr. Charles Carame.
As agreed on, each vendors’ block will have its own Health Protocol Officer (HPO) to assist the city in implementing health protocols.
Ragma said they will continue to engage the vendors and concerned agencies to ensure that the reoperation will run smoothly.
Training and orientation of the block leaders will also be conducted to guide them in the proper implementation of the health protocols. – Aileen P. Refuerzo