Temporary closure of GenSan bars sought over protocol violations

Temporary closure of GenSan bars sought over protocol violations

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – A city official has recommended the temporary closure of bars, night clubs and other related establishments here due to the noted widespread non-compliance with the minimum health protocols and prevention measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Geraldine Zamora, head of the business permits and licensing division (BPLD), said they have documented numerous violations committed by bar patrons or customers and establishments in a series of surprise inspections last week.

She said these include the non-observance of safe physical distancing, presence of children and other improper practices by customers, among them the sharing of one drinking glass.

“We already reported this to the City Mayor’s Office since it seems that everyone has become lax already,” she said in a “question hour” during the city council’s regular session on Wednesday.

Zamora said she also referred the matter to an official of the City Inter-Agency Task Force (CIATF) for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases for appropriate action.

She said they are planning to conduct another round of follow-up inspections in the coming days in coordination with other concerned agencies.

The official cited members of the composite team earlier created by the local government that includes the Department of Trade and Industry, City Health Office, Department of Labor and Employment and the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office.

The BPLD launched the inspections after a video of a jam-packed crowd inside a bar in the city made rounds recently in the social media.

Zamora said they visited the concerned bar and several other establishments and found the same violations.

“Personally, I think we should just temporarily close these establishments before we experience the same situation with Metro Manila,” she said.

She was referring to the continuing surge of Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Region and neighboring areas that have already affected the health care systems.

City Councilor Rosalita Nunez raised concern over the violations committed by bars and nightclubs and called for the imposition of penalties on the violators.

She urged the BPLD to conduct regular inspections as well in shopping malls and public markets to properly enforce the health protocols, especially the wearing of face mask and face shield.

“Our malls require these but when you check inside nobody is actually complying. Some people only use their face shield as headbands,” she said.

The mandatory wearing of protective face masks and the practice of proper safe physical distancing were provided for in separate ordinances passed last April and May 2020 by the city council.

It sets fines of PHP2,000 to PHP3,000 and community service of three to nine days for the violators.

City Councilor Jose Edmar Yumang advised the BPLD to coordinate their inspection activities with the city police and include representatives from the CIATF.

He said they should apprehend outright the violators and impose the penalties set under the existing city ordinances. (PNA)

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