Labella thumbs down night market reopening

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella has denied the recommendation to reopen the night market in December amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The local executive described the reopening as risky as it would be impossible to practice social distancing and avoid mass gathering in a night market as it is a place for bargain hunters.

The Cebu City Market Operations Division had recommended to Labella to reopen the night market from December to March next year.

Labella did not greenlight the proposal even if the market operations division had formulated guidelines to prevent Covid-19 transmission: a one-meter distance between each stall, mandatory wearing of masks and face shields, provision of hand sanitizers, one entrance and one exit policy, and shorter operation hours.

Labella said if he would allow the operation of the night market, it should cater only to displaced vendors.

But he said most of the individuals who availed themselves of the night market program in the previous year were not displaced vendors.

The Cebu City Government suspended the operation of the night market last March 16 when the city was first placed under general community quarantine because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Labella said while the City Government is looking for a solution to cater to the needs of the displaced sidewalk vendors, the reopening of the night market is not considered one of the solutions.

His talks with the vendor associations and the Department of the Interior and Local Government are still ongoing so they can come up with a win-win solution.

More than 1,200 vendors were displaced for the past eight months due to the pandemic. (JJL)


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