Angeles City bans holiday parties, reunions as precaution vs Omicron
ANGELES CITY––Some residents and business establishments in this city have booked resorts and events venues in nearby cities and towns for their Christmas parties and reunions after the local government prohibited holiday-related gatherings amid the threat posed by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Some owners and workers of swimming pool resorts in neighboring Mabalacat City have confirmed to the Inquirer that their customers, who made reservations for Christmas parties and reunions, are from this city.
“They told us that Lazatin (Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr.) had banned Christmas parties and family reunions in Angeles, so they looked for other places here in Mabalacat,” a staff member of a pool resort said Thursday, Dec. 9.
In an executive order issued Dec. 6, Lazatin prohibited “face-to-face” parties, reunions, and similar gatherings in the city from Dec. 6 until Jan. 10 to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission among individuals from different households, especially with the emergence of the Omicron variant.
“Upon the recommendation of the Department of Health and the City Health Officer, there is a need to strengthen efforts to limit such gatherings in a bid to maintain the low number of COVID-19 positive cases that the city has experienced in the past months and avoid a surge in the number of cases after the holidays,” he said.
The order said children’s parties and birthday celebrations for 65 years old and above that involve guests from other households are likewise prohibited.
For other social events, guests and attendees must present current negative results of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests in venues permitted to accommodate only 70 percent of their capacities.
Bars and similar establishments are allowed only up to 50 percent of their capacities, and guests are required to present cards showing they are vaccinated fully against COVID-19.
Several residents who commented on the city’s social media page hailed Lazatin’s order, while some have expressed their disappointment over the prohibition.
Others said Lazatin’s order is “practically useless” as city residents could always book for parties and reunions in resorts and similar venues in nearby Mabalacat City and other towns where such activities are not prohibited.
“People can get infected with the virus during a party or a reunion in Mabalacat City, and they can transmit the virus when they go back to Angeles City. So, it is useless. The rule must be uniform in the whole of Pampanga,” one resident said.
Because Lazatin still prohibits minors from entering malls here, city residents bring their children to malls in the nearby City of San Fernando, where they are allowed inside. INQ
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