CLOSING TIME: Mayor shutters 9 establishments, orders two others to explain COVID protocol ‘violations’

Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) head Jeck Conlu (third from right) talks to the manager of The Cave Bar in Mandurriao, Iloilo City Saturday night. The club along with MO2 Ice in Smallville area were made to explain alleged violations of COVID-19 protocols. Nine other leisure places in Smallville area were shuttered for the same violations. (PSTMO photos)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The Iloilo City government is cracking down on businesses that flouted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) protocols by issuing closure notices to nine establishments and a show-cause order to two others.

The notices of closure and revocation orders were issued to Drop Off Point Resto Bar, Balay Kalan-an, and Naknampata Food Store, while closure orders were issued to Nikito Pizzeria, Seafood Trip Avenue, Bagang, Baskugan Refreshment Kiosk, Boyet’s Grills, and Blackout which are located at El Lanai Space Building in Mandurriao district.

MO2 Super Club was also made to explain certain alleged violations. (PSTMO photo)

A single show cause notice was issued to MO2 Resto Bar and MO2 Ice, and The Cave Superclub and Music Hall.

All establishments are located at Brgy. San Rafael in Mandurriao district.

The scene inside The Cave Superclub and Music Hall. (PSTMO photo)

The Iloilo City Business Processing Licensing Office (BPLO), Compliance Monitoring Team, personnel from the Task Force on Moral and Values Formation (TFVMF), and other local authorities found out during a random inspection on Nov 27, 2021 that the nine establishments operated beyond the required capacity, failed to enforce physical distancing, while others failed to secure the necessary documents required for their operations.

Nine establishments inside El Lanai Space Building in Mandurriao district were ordered close. (PSTMO photo)

The closure and revocation notices to Drop Off Point and Balay Kalan-an cited lack of health cards in violation of Regulation Ordinance No. 2013-251, and violating the allowed maximum capacity for establishments without Safety Seal certification under Sections 7 and 8 of Executive Order No. 137 s. 2021.

Section 7 of EO No. 137 s. 2021 provides that permitted establishments must require proof of identification and COVID vaccination, and that maximum indoor capacity should be at 50 percent, while outdoor capacity is at 70 percent.

The notice to Naknampata also cited the excess in capacity without Safety Seal, but also lack of physical distancing, in violation of Regulation Ordinance No. 2020-066.

The show cause notice to MO2 and The Cave was issued due to alleged violation of Section 7 of EO No. 137 s. 2021.

“During a random inspection conducted by the Iloilo City BPLO, Compliance Monitoring Team, personnel from the TFVMF, it  was discovered that the management of MO2 Resto Bar and MO2 Ice and The Cave Superclub and Musical Hall at Brgy. San Rafael, Mandurriao committed several regulations such as exceeding the allowable maximum capacity and no observance of social distancing,” according to the order.

The closure orders against Nikito Pizzeria, Seafood Trip Avenue, Bagang, and Baskugan cited the following violations:

  • Sections 240 (License requirement) and 243 (Conspicuous display of permits) of Local Tax Ordinance 2007-016;
  • RO No. 2020-066 on physical distancing;
  • RO No. 2013-051 on personnel without health cards; and
  • Provisions on allowable capacities under EO No. 137, s. 2021.

“You are hereby directed to secure a business permit from BPLO and pay the corresponding penalties to the City Treasurer’s Office before you shall be allowed to operate your business,” the order said.

In his statement, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas reminded businesses of the continuing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, warned that the same fate might happen to other establishments if they fail to comply.

“Warnings are sent to non-compliant establishments and those unable to follow these warnings are forced to close. As fellow humans, we must also think of the welfare of the community. We must remember that each of our actions plays a role in our goal towards moving forward. Let us not wait for us to experience another surge and lockdown,” the mayor said in his statement.

Treñas released a statement over the weekend stating that the Iloilo City Compliance Team had recommended the closure of the Lanai Resto Bar near the Smallville Complex in Mandurriao for breaching COVID protocols.

The mayor also reminded establishments of the importance of the safety of the customers with the easing of restrictions as the city continues to work towards the recovery.

“Let us be reminded that there are protocols set by the National IATF to ensure that while we work towards recovery, we also secure the safety of our customers. As fellow humans, we must also think of the welfare of the community. We must remember that each of our actions plays a role in our goal towards moving forward,” he stressed.

The mayor appealed to the public to be responsible and not wait for another surge and lockdown to happen.

Last Nov 16, the city allowed the operation of leisure and entertainment venues in the metro subject to limitations with the issuance of issued Executive Order No. 137 by Treñas.

The EO allowed entertainment establishments to allow fully vaccinated individuals at a maximum of 50% in indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 70% outdoor venue capacity provided that the employees are also fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Under EO 137, leisure and entertainment venues particularly those with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls and theaters may now operate at a prescribed maximum capacity. (With a report from ERS)