CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella will lift the liquor ban in Cebu City starting Friday, May 7, 2021, after more than three months of reimposing it following a surge in Covid-19 cases in the city.
During his press conference on Tuesday, May 4, Labella announced that he will issue an executive order to lift the ban.
Labella said he will make the move after receiving a request from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which sought the mayor’s help in reviving businesses, including restaurants and joints that serve beer and other alcoholic beverages.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and city health officials also recommended in favor of lifting the ban.
For its part, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) is preparing for the lifting of the ban as it does not want establishments that serve liquor to be crowded.
CCPO Deputy Director for Operations Wilbert Parilla said they will ensure that the establishments will not be crowded and the drinkers observe the social distancing protocol.
He said drinking by the roadside is still prohibited.
The curfew in the city still starts at 11 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m.
This means if an establishment is serving liquor and there are still drinkers well beyond the start of the curfew, its owner and customers will face penalties. The owner will also risk losing his business permit and license to sell liquor.
Parilla said it would be better for establishments to close 30 minutes before the curfew starts to give enough time for their customers to leave and not get caught in the streets.
The police official urged business owners to follow the guidelines that will be laid out in the executive order that will be issued by Labella.
Two bottles only
Labella warned that establishments must follow health protocols and the limit of two bottles that each customer can drink.
To enforce the protocols, the City will deploy liquor marshals who will monitor the establishments. The marshals will be City Hall’s job order employees.
A warning will be issued to an establishment that violates the guidelines for the first time.
But if the establishment continues to violate protocol, its business permit will be revoked and the establishment will be closed.
On Feb. 3, 2021, Labella issued Executive Order 117 that reimposes a total liquor ban in Cebu City to prevent non-essential gatherings in public places and mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The ban prohibits the drinking and serving of liquor in public places. The order said hotels, resorts and other accommodation establishments can serve alcoholic drinks but only to in-house guests and under the guidelines set by the tourism and trade departments.
The liquor ban was reimposed following the surge in Covid-19 cases in the city early this year. Non-essential gatherings are among the sources of virus transmission.
As of May 3, 2021, Cebu City had 819 total active cases with nine new cases. But early this year Cebu City logged a peak of over 2,500 active cases around Feb. 23.
Covid-19 cases dropped in the double digits starting late March until April, after a nearly three-month-long surge when new cases were reported in the triple digits nearly every day.
In the neighboring cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, liquor bans are still in effect.
Mandaue reimposes liquor ban
Mandaue City EOC still allows selling, transporting of liquor
Lapu-Lapu relaxes quarantine restrictions
In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes ordered a liquor ban on Feb. 20, 2021 that prohibits the serving and drinking of alcoholic drinks in establishments, but allows the selling of alcoholic drinks. (REV, AYB, MVG)