Davao to lift liquor ban, reopen Roxas Night Market in September

A usual scene at the Roxas Night Market before the coronavirus pandemic. MindaNews file photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 July) – The city may lift its 24/7 liquor ban and reopen the bustling Roxas Night Market starting September 1, months after the local government prohibited mass gathering, among other strict measures, to control the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Sara Duterte said.

During her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Friday, Duterte said the local government is aiming to keep the COVID-19 cases here “low and manageable” in preparation for the gradual lifting of stringent measures.

She said she wanted residents to adjust to the “new normal” by getting used to the basic health protocols amid the pandemic.

She added she might just decide to allow the selling of alcoholic drinks if the number of COVID-19 cases would not spike up.

“We are still on the liquor ban. Let’s not celebrate too much because what we have lifted is just the FM (food and medicine) pass and curfew because we want you to self-regulate,” she said.

The mayor imposed a ban on liquor on April 6, to minimize the possibility of transmitting the virus during drinking sessions.

As of July 30, Department of Health-Davao Region reported 1,273 cases with 48 deaths and 727 recoveries. Of the total, 856 were in Davao City, 135 in Davao del Norte, 58 in Davao del Sur, 93 in Davao de Oro, 100 in Davao Oriental, and 31 in Davao Occidental.

Duterte encouraged residents to instill self-discipline by adhering to basic health protocols such as staying at home, wearing a mask, observing physical distancing, and frequent hand washing to avoid contracting the highly infectious disease.

She said that if the number of cases goes out of hand, the local government may decide to close the city again.

A single jeepney plies along an empty Roxas Avenue in Davao City on 16 March 2020. Davao City has ordered the temporary halt of the operation of the Roxas Night Market until the public health emergency brought about by COVID-19 is lifted. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

“Otherwise if the cases will continue to go up, we will close again the city which is something that we do not want to happen. Nobody wants to go back to GCQ (general community quarantine), nobody wants to go back to MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), and nobody wants to go back to ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” she said.

The Roxas Night Market was a popular destination for street food, ukay-ukay (used clothes) and street massage.

It was closed on March 12, at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, displacing 498 food vendors and massage therapists.

The place was first closed after the bombing on September 2, 2016, which killed 15 people and injured 69 others. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)