As the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) incidence has significantly gone down, Baguio officials appear to be more relaxed as they will finally open the night market.
With Covid cases the past week dropping to nearly a third of the 318 confirmed infections for the November 6-12 period for an average of 45.4 cases a day, one of Baguio’s bigger night attraction will finally be opened after nearly nine months of closure.
Baguio reported a “measly” 107 cases, or 15 cases a day, for the same period ending last November 26 as the city gears for the opening of the Harrison night market where over 1,000 vendors have been affected with the closure of business activity since March 17.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong in a release said “this is part of the city’s ‘new normal direction’ of reopening the economy to restore the people’s livelihood side by side with the adoption of strict health and safety protocols as safeguard against the disease.”
Last week, Market Superintendent Fernando Ragma Jr. started ground preparations where he ensured “that the physical arrangement will be compliant with the health standards particularly disallowing the erstwhile congested condition and allowing enough space for customers pursuant to the physical distancing rules to prevent disease transmission.”
Ragma said that stall measurements will be adjusted from 1.5 meters (m) by 1.5 m to 2 m by 2 m and the erstwhile five lanes will become three to allow more space for customers. The alleys will also be widened to five meters enough to fit a fire truck.
City Engineering Office head Engr. Edgar Victorio Olpindo had ordered the start of repainting the markers and fixing the lighting system of the outbound portion of the road.
Ragma said a set of operational guidelines had been submitted to the mayor for approval.
He added that operation time will be from 8:00PM-11:30PM which Baguio City Police Office under City Director P Col. Allen Rae Co has agreed to.
Moreover, only half of the number of vendors will be allowed to open per week thus the vendors will be divided into two groups to vend alternately.
Ragma added that only 481 concessionaires – 433 dry goods and 48 food – will be allowed to operate in a day.
He said that health and safety protocols had also been crafted with the Baguio City Market Authority task force and the City Health Services Office Sanitation Division under Engr. Charles Carame.
The vendors likewise will have its own Health Protocol Officer (HPO) to assist the city in implementing health protocols.