BACOLOD CITY – The city government of Bacolod has temporarily suspended the curfew hours in observance of the Filipino customs and traditions of celebrating Christmas and to welcome the New Year.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued Executive No. 82 temporarily lifting the curfew hours from 11 p.m. of December 24, 2020 until 3 a.m. of December 25, 2020; and from 11 p.m. of December 31, 2020 until 3 a.m. of January 1, 2021, in celebration of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, respectively.
Provided that the curfew hours/non-social period shall resume on the days following the said dates pursuant to City Ordinance 947, Series of 2020, entitled “An ordinance amending the emergency authority to the city mayor in the face of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and for the purpose of practical applications consonant to circumstances.”
The city government had earlier shortened the curfew hours from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. in observance of the Aguinaldo masses.
Leonardia has also issued an Executive Order prescribing guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation and compliance to the public health standards during the holidays.
Based on E.O. No. 81, Leonardia said work or non-family related Christmas parties or gatherings are highly discouraged, but virtual get-togethers and Christmas and New Year parties or gatherings held within the premises of one’s home are highly encouraged.
In the event that families not living in the same household wish to get together for Christmas and New Year, their gathering must be held outdoors and with proper observance of physical distancing, he added.
Leonardia also said that serving and/or consuming alcoholic drinks should be refrained. This applies to family gatherings conducted in a private setting as gatherings in public places are discouraged.
Traditional caroling or the act of going house to house to sing Christmas carols is prohibited. It is only allowed when this activity is done virtually or through online means, or by family members living in the same household and that the act is conducted within the confines of their homes, the mayor said.
Leonardia is urging Bacolodnons to give priority to the COVID-19 protocols than the traditional practices of observing Christmas with a large group of persons.
While COVID cases here substantially decreased in the past two months, Leonardia said that it should not mislead people to put their guards down.
He said that the Christmas spirit might give the wrong sense of security, adding that COVID figures can go up anytime if people would not think about the threat of the virus.
“Christmas is Christmas and we try to be one family but we can just limit it to our immediate family,” he said. He urged everyone not to be complacent.