DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – The local government is discussing the possible reopening of the popular Roxas Night Market following the downgrading of the city’s alert status to level 1 from March 1 to 15 as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decrease.
Dr. Michelle Schlosser, spokesperson for Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, said in her program “COVID-19 Alert” on Wednesday that the Business Bureau has discussed the plan with due consideration of the guidelines under alert level 1 that have to be threshed out with the health cluster of the task force.
She said an activity that could result in the high transmission of the virus may not be allowed.
“If it will remain high risk, there might be a possibility that we will not follow the guidelines for alert level 1. With regard to Roxas, it may be reopened but there should be a process, including rules and regulations that should be implemented in opening Roxas,” she said.
She said the local government wants economic recovery while managing at the same time the spread of infections.
“What we want is to recover the economy… but we need to balance health and economy. So, if we are to open Roxas, there should be implemented rules and regulations so that their clients are safe as well as our sellers and vendors,” she said.
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.
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.
It said they may “continue to provide flexible and alternative work arrangements as deemed appropriate based on function or individual risk.”
Agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall adhere to 100% on-site workforce, according to the guidelines.
It added that off-site work shall be under such work arrangements subject to relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President.
It said public transportation in areas under Alert Level 1 shall be at full seating capacity.
“For intrazonal and interzonal travels involving public land transportation between an area with a higher alert level classification and an area under Alert Level 1, the passenger capacity shall be that which has the lower passenger capacity rate between the point of origin and point of destination,” it said.
For aviation, maritime, and rail public transport operating in and out of Alert Level 1 areas, the passenger capacity will be at 100% while the use of acrylic and/or plastic dividers shall not be required, it said.
As of March 2, the Department of Health-Davao reported 22 new infections, bringing total cases to 72,091 with 266 active, 69,881 recoveries, and 1,942 deaths. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)
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