Owners of local restaurants have appealed on the city government to ease the current restrictions on public liquor consumption and curfew hours, citing its negative effects on their businesses.
Butch Chase, owner of Kinabuch’s Grill and Bar, implored the City Council on Monday (August 9) to allow them to serve beer, claiming that people who typically dine and consume alcoholic beverages in restaurants are occasional liquor drinkers who do not become intoxicated and can still adhere to health protocols.
“Nakikiusap kami na sana mapayagan ninyo na magbenta kami ng beer dahil sa amin naman ang napapansin namin kapag kumakain doon at nagbe-beer, hindi naman sila ‘yong talagang naglalasingan. Nag-uusap lang sila tapos sumusunod naman sila sa batas na binigay niyo sa amin,” Chase said.
He also acknowledged that the pandemic restrictions imposed difficulties directly affecting workers, who are forced to borrow money over and over until there is nothing left to lend.
“Medyo hirap na rin kami. Yong ibang employees ko nakaka-awa ba na nangungutang, pangalawa, uutang pa ulit, pangatlo hindi mo na mapautang,” Chase added.
Maybel Galang, owner of Artisans, said that all they want is “guidance” on how to regulate alcohol use at the restaurant.
“Ang amin lang sanang hinihingi ay ‘yong guidance for a regulated alcohol consumption within the restaurant like for example sa amin we observed all the protocols of safe dining and drinking. It’s just a matter of not a total ban but to also access the culture of the wining and dining but not one to sawa,” Galang said.
“It has a biggest impact because it has a lot of domino effect locally and to our economy as well,” she added.
Lawyer Christine Longno of the city legal office reiterated the Department of Health (DOH) administrative order No. 2020-001 which states that smoking and consuming alcoholic drinks are discouraged rather than prohibited.
“It says here that smoking and drinking of alcoholic beverages is discouraged po, not prohibited,” Longno said.
Councilor Herbert Dilig, chairman of the Committee on Information and Communications Technology, clarified that there is no provision prohibiting restaurants from serving liquor.
Dilig explained that the purpose of these regulations is to avoid crowds, citing that individuals seeking assistance are genuine business owners who do not offer alcoholic beverages in order to make their customers intoxicated.
“The spirit behind these provisions, is para maiwasan yong mga pag kukumpol kumpol ng mga tao. Yong pag iinuman sa mga kanto at barangay, but we have allowed the sale of liquor. Ang humihingi po ng tulong dito ay ‘yong ating mga legitimate na negosyante na hindi nag seserve ng alcoholic beverages para malasing ‘yong kanilang customer,” Dilig said.
“Tinututukan po ng lungsod ang health problems, sa palagay ko ito naman ang pagkakataon para tignan naman natin yong ating ekonomiya at ‘yong bumubuhay ng ating ekonomiya at ng iba nating mamamayan,” he added.