The Joint Task Force COVID Shield has directed police commanders to monitor beerhouses and bars in their respective areas following reports of "unauthorized operations" despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to JTF COVID Shield commander Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, authorities have received reports that some beerhouses and bars have started accepting customers.
Eleazar noted that these establishments could be a "ground zero of mass infection."
"Based on the guidelines issued by the IATF-MEID, the operation of beerhouses, bars and other similar establishments are still prohibited under the modified general community quarantine and much more under the general community quarantine,” Eleazar said in a statement.
“So any attempt to accept customers is already a clear violation of the IATF guidelines and possibly even local ordinances,” Eleazar added.
He mentioned that last week, police had nabbed at least 30 individuals in Makati City after they were caught having a drinking session in a bar while over more or less 100 people were arrested in a bar in Quezon City for alleged violation of quarantine violations.
"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," Eleazar said.
"That is why our commanders on the ground should regularly check on these establishments,” he added.
Police commanders were also tasked to coordinate with their respective local government units to ensure that those who would not follow the IATF guidelines would be penalized, including payment of fine and even closure order, according to Eleazar.
He said this is separate from criminal charges that would be filed against the operators of said establishments and the customers who would be caught violating health measures.
Eleazar said bars allowed to open are those focused on serving food. He added that live band performance is still discouraged. — Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ, GMA News