DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 March) — The popular Roxas Night Market will reopen on March 24 after the local government closed it down two years ago as a measure to control mass gathering amid the threat of COVID-19, a city official announced on Thursday.
Paul Bermejo, head of the city government’s Ancillary Services Unit, said in an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Thursday, that city officials, including the city treasurer, are now in the thick of discussion in preparation for the revival of the night market.
This after Mayor Sara Duterte ordered the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions last Monday as the number of cases decreased significantly following the Omicron-driven surge in the early part of the first quarter of this year.
With the lifting of restrictions, businesses, offices and establishments are allowed to operate at pre-pandemic capacity.
Duterte cited the need “to swiftly reopen the city for economic recovery in view of the impending increase in prices.”
Bermejo said the dedicated bicycle lanes along Roxas Avenue will not be encroached by the vendors when the market reopens.
Around 500 vendors and massage therapists were displaced when the local government closed the night market on March 12, 2020, to avoid transmission of COVID-19.
It reopened on September 12 but was closed again two months later, on November 20, when COVID-19 cases surged beginning the third quarter of that year.
The Roxas Night Market was a popular destination for street food, ukay-ukay (used clothes) and street massage.
The city’s alert level status has been downgraded to alert level 1 from March 1 to 15 as cases of COVID-19 went down.
Section 6 of the amended guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases provides that for areas downgraded to Alert Level 1, all private offices and workplaces, including public and private construction sites, may operate at full capacity consistent with national issuances on vaccination requirements for on-site work.
According to the Department of Health-Davao, the city reported five new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total cases to 72,149 with 123 active, 70,072 recoveries, and 1,954 deaths.
On September 2, 2016, a bomb exploded at the Roxas Night Market, which killed 15 people and injured 69 others. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)