BAGUIO CITY – The city government is set to re-open its night market on Friday (Dec. 11) after ironing out the safety rules and health protocols and ensuring these will be observed at the venue.
Fernando Ragma Jr., market superintendent, during the “Ugnayan” program of the Public Information Office (PIO)-Baguio, said that from the original 1,067 registered stalls and more than 300 walk-in sellers, they decreased it to only 33 percent or 304 stalls for dry goods and 48 for food.
The dry goods will be located at the stretch of Harrison Road, while the food stalls will be set up at the former Jadewell parking area.
The area will be closed starting at 7 p.m. and selling will start at 8 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.
Only a maximum of 350 persons will be allowed inside the cordoned area and everyone is required to wear a face mask, face shield, and observe physical distancing. Each stall will be allowed a maximum of three customers at a time.
There are also handwashing facilities at the site and in the stalls.
The vendors themselves have their safety protocol officers who will ensure compliance with the rules.
A tower will be set up to allow authorities to see if there is crowding in a particular area.
“Stall owners that violate the rules will be fined PHP3,000 and PHP500 for individual violators,” Ragma said.
He also encouraged the senior citizens, who are among those vulnerable to catching the disease, to refrain from going to the night market.
With the opening of the night market, Ragma said the city government is weighing the balance between economic activities and public health.
“Alam na natin paano natin protektahan ang sarili natin (we already know how to protect ourselves), let us observe the safety precautions, let us learn to live with Covid amid us because we need to survive economically also,” he said.
Aside from low-priced products, the night market is expected to stimulate economic activity that creates a domino effect on the survival of businesses.
“Marami pong binubuhay ang night market hindi lang ang ating mga vendors (the night market is providing livelihood to different sectors),” Ragma said.
He added that the city also raises revenue from the operation of the night market as vendors pay a PHP50 regulatory fee every night, paid one week in advance.
In 2019, the city collected PHP18 million in regulatory fee or from PHP1.5 to PHP1.6 million a month in collection.
The night market has become a tourist attraction frequented by visitors, aside from residents going to the area. (PNA)