Liquor ban lifted in Pasay City, but conditions apply

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 14)— The Pasay City government has lifted its ban on the sale and consumption of liquor and other alcoholic drinks, provided residents follow certain criteria.

The local government, through Ordinance No. 6107 released on Thursday, said stakeholders have suggested the need to relax the liquor ban for "economic reasons"— particularly to help retailers and other small businesses augment sales amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The document, signed by city mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano, added the move was made so as not to "deprive constituents with the choice to buy and consume alcoholic drinks to help them deal with their anxieties."

It added that strict observance of physical distancing protocols should be maintained, and stressed that drinking in public places will remain banned.

"Consumption of any kind of alcoholic drinks is allowed as long as it is done inside of the house and physical distancing is strictly observed. In no case shall drinking beyond the premises of the house, including backyards, and in any public place shall be allowed," the ordinance read.

Major liquor companies have earlier appealed for the government to lift the total ban on alcoholic beverages, citing the negative impact of the industry's declining market. Liquor makers have suggested instead a partial ban, adding a time period for the sale can be implemented to help regulate drinking.

Malacañang, however, said it is up to local government units to implement or lift their own liquor bans, as the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force has not specifically decided on the issue.

"Wala pong discussion sa IATF pagdating sa liquor ban. Ang diniscuss lang po, ay pwede na mag-operate under modified ECQ 'yung mga liquor tsaka tobacco companies dahil kinakailangan naman natin ng pondo," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in his virtual media briefing. "It is the local governments that impose the liquor ban."

[Translation: There's no discussion in the IATF with regards to the liquor ban. What we discussed is some liquor and tobacco companies can operate under modified ECQ because we need funds.]