Photo by Waldemar Brandt via Unsplash

The city government heeded the business sector’s plea, relaxing the guidelines for the public consumption of liquor and adjusted the curfew hours.

City Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) spokesperson Atty. Norman Yap said Wednesday that the new guidelines were formulated with the business sector’s concerns in mind after several business establishments wrote to the city council about losing income due to strict quarantine restrictions.

“Hindi ito totally lifted, modified lang. Pinakinggan natin ang request ng mga business establishments patungkol sa pag-serve ng alcoholic drinks, na nawawalan na sila ng income dahil sa liquor ban. This is why we are modifying our existing liquor ban,” said Yap.

Curfew hours have also been adjusted to 11 PM to 5 AM, beginning Friday, August 20.

Under the new guidelines, public consumption of liquor will only be allowed for certain dates – August 20, 21, 27, and 28. The allowance will also be until only 10 PM on those dates. Yap explained that this time period will serve as an observation on whether the liquor ban will be totally lifted at a later date.

“Hesitant pa rin ang IATF na totally i-lift ang liquor ban kasi mayroon pang threat ng Delta variant,” ge added.

Additional guidelines stated that only establishments have an alfresco setup so proper ventilation is observed. Dining guests should also observe 1-meter physical distancing, have logged in through the app and must be fully vaccinated. They must also provide proof that they are residents of Puerto Princesa City.

For establishments that will offer alcoholic drinks, they must secure a Safety Seal certification from the Business Processing and Licensing Office (BPLO) and must have also filed a request to the City Health Office for the vaccination of their staff.

Cases going down, but the threat still present
City Incident Management Team (IMT) chief Dr. Dean Palanca said in the same live briefing that the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to decrease, but measures are still in place to prevent the possibility of the Delta variant entering the city. Palanca added that not even securing negative test results prior to arriving in the city can assure that they are truly negative for COVID-19. 

“Makikita natin na justified ang ating pag-quarantine. Kasi dito sa aming records, sa July, mayroong tatlong nag-positive sa RT-PCR at tatlo ang nag-positive sa antigen. Noong August, may seven na APOR (authorized persons outside residence) at isang ROF (returning overseas Filipino) na nag-positive sa antigen,” he said.

“Bumababa nga ang ating mga cases, pero hindi ibig sabihin na dapat na makampante tayo. The question is no longer if papasok ba ang Delta variant, but kung kailan siya papasok dito. So far, we have six samples na nalaman nating Beta variant,” he added.

Palanca further urged the public to get vaccinated and assured that they have not recorded any COVID-19 death on a patient who was fully vaccinated.