Police commanders ordered to monitor bars amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — The Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield has ordered all police commanders to monitor bars and establishments that will serve liquor amid reports of unauthorized operations as the country continues to grapple against the coronavirus pandemic.
Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, who serves as commander of the JTF COVID Shield, said police commanders were tasked to coordinate with their respective local government units (LGUs) to ensure that establishments that will violate the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will be penalized.
Penalties include the payment of fine and even closure of the establishment on top of the criminal charges that will be filed against the operators as well as the customers who will be arrested, said Eleazar.
Eleazar pointed out that under the guidelines issued by the IATF-MEID, the operations of beerhouses, bars, and other similar establishments are still prohibited under the modified general community quarantine (GCQ).
He likewise dubbed as “alarming” reports that some beerhouses and bars have already started accepting customers since these establishments may end up as “ground zeros of mass infection.”
“So any attempt to accept customers is already a clear violation of the IATF guidelines and possibly even local ordinances,” Eleazar said in a statement.
Eleazar’s order came after 34 bar-goers, including foreigners, were arrested for supposed health violations while engaging in a drinking session inside a bar in Makati which was allegedly recorded in a Facebook Live video.
On Saturday, nearly 100 people were also arrested for quarantine violations after they were caught drinking in a restobar along Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City.
“We are not discounting the possibility that similar unauthorized operations of beerhouses, bars and similar establishments are also happening in the provinces, particularly in urban areas. That is why our commanders on the ground should regularly check on these establishments,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar said that while some bars may open, these bars are allowed to only serve food and for their owners to discourage customers from lingering.
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