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Palace Warns Versus Superspreader In Dolomite Beach Visits

Palace Warns Versus Superspreader In Dolomite Beach Visits
People flock to Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, to unwind as restrictions were eased amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Miguel de Guzman, The Philippine STAR

While the government allows the public to enjoy the Manila Bay dolomite beach, minimum health protocols must still be observed when visiting the new tourist spot to prevent the trans-mission of COVID-19, Malacañang reminded the public on Monday, Oct. 25.

“We are calling on the police in Manila, we need to implement social distancing. Dolomite is really for everyone’s enjoyment, but don’t let that be the reason for us to have a superspreader event,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said.

Roque also told parents that children are allowed to leave their homes only for essential activities.

“First of all, kids should go out of their homes for essential (activities). The kids are not allowed to stroll yet. There is still a pandemic, although our cases are decreasing, COVID-19 is still here. So, let’s not be complacent. We need to wear face mask, wash our hands, avoid close contact and if you can afford get a vaccine,” Roque stressed.

Time limit

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it will implement a 15-minute time limit at the dolomite beach to avoid overcrowding.

DENR Undersecretary for policy, planning and international affairs Jonas Leones said they would impose a 15-minute time limit or even less, especially if a large number of people show up.

He added it is one of the agency’s “remedial measures” to be able to accommodate more people while at the same time observing health protocols because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As for allowing children in the area, Leones said concerned agencies will have to meet first and discuss the issue since many have already raised opposition to it.

During the reopening of the dolomite beach last Oct. 16, Leones said 8,000 people showed up. The next day, visitors hit 25,000 and that doubled again on Oct. 23.

“Apart from being excited, many of those visiting the beach area are curious about the dolomite,” he said. The P389-million project covers a 500-meter stretch of the bay’s shorelines with artificial white sand.

The beach, which measures 1.2 hectares, could only accommodate up to 5,000 people but on Sunday, a total of 65,000 people visited the area, according to Manila Police District director Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco.

At least 50 cops were deployed to remind visitors to observe social distancing.

Manila Bay coordinating office deputy executive director Jacob Meimban Jr. said the area would be closed on Friday, Oct. 29, for maintenance work. A one-day shutdown will be implemented weekly to maintain the dolomite beach.

The DENR said it would also coordinate with the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the local government of Manila to discuss other crowd control measures. – With Rhodina Villanueva, Marc Jayson Cayabyab