DAVAO CITY – City Mayor Sara Duterte has postponed the re-opening of the popular Roxas Night Market and the lifting of the 24/7 liquor ban, which were previously eyed on September 1.
Duterte said, in her interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (87.5) on Friday, that the re-opening of the night market has been moved to the third week of September, while her decision to lift the liquor ban will depend on the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
She said that the city wanted to resume the livelihood of some 498 night market vendors.
The Roxas Night Market was a popular destination for street food, ukay-ukay (used clothes) and street massage. It was closed on March 12, at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, displacing 498 food vendors and massage therapists.
However, the mayor said that the night market would initially reopen only at 25-percent capacity, while the vendors take turns in opening their stalls every two weeks.
She said that the city would increase the capacity if there would be strict compliance with minimum health requirements, such as observing physical distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing.
“We will do it gradually. We will reopen this one first, and then we will see. If the cases will go up, then we will regroup, rearrange, and re-coordinate on what we will do if, God forbid, that will happen,” she said.
She said that the lifting of the liquor ban would be discussed in October because it's the “least priority”, considering that most establishments that serve alcoholic beverages, like beer houses, clubs, and bars, remain under the “negative list” of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The mayor imposed a ban on liquor on April 6, to minimize the possibility of transmitting the virus during drinking sessions.
“Why do we need to open the Roxas Night Market? It’s because there are several vendors there who have been affected by the closure because of COVID-19 and we want to resume their livelihood and because under the negative list of DTI, beer houses, clubs, and bars are still not allowed,” she said.
But Duterte vowed to continue supporting the workers who have been affected by the closure of these establishments through the provisions of rice and other food stuff from the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).
Duterte reminded Dabawenyos to strictly follow the health protocols like staying at home, maintaining distancing, and frequent handwriting to avoid contracting the infection, so that the city would remain open.
“Let’s help each other out by doing the health protocols as well in our offices and establishments,” she said.