Additional crowd control measures are in place for Manila Bay’s dolomite beach to better prevent possible spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) while enabling the conduct of maintenance and other works.
The beach has been attracting throngs of people since it reopened this month, raising concern the crowd may facilitate Covid-19’s spread due to lack of physical distancing which is among the minimum health standards set by the government, noted Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Jonas Leones.
“We are aware that if this situation continues and the minimum health standards are ignored, this may bring us to a scenario of a possible super spreader event,” Jonas said Tuesday during a virtual press conference, reading the DENR’s latest statement on the matter.
To address the situation, he said there is a “temporary ban on minors to enter dolomite beach” as this restriction is consistent with Covid-19 protocols of Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
He also said members of DENR-led Manila Bay Task Force (MBTF) agreed to close the beach every Friday for maintenance work and, in accordance with IATF protocols, from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3.
“The minimum health protocols will be strictly observed by implementing measures to meet capacity of the area to avoid over-crowding and give way to some repairs in some parts of the beach,” he continued.
There will be time allotted for visitor’s stay in the beach so pending rehabilitation work in the area — particularly water quality-related tasks — can continue, he said.
“In accordance with existing laws, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and even pregnant women are to be accorded with special lanes inside the dolomite beach,” he added.
DENR is optimistic such measures will significantly reduce the number of people flocking there.
Marshalls of DENR are patrolling Manila Bay’s dolomite beach but visitor turn-out has been unexpected, raising the need for additional crowd control measures.
“We respectfully request your understanding,” the DENR urged the public while assuring that coordination among MBTF member-agencies will continue to further rehabilitate Manila Bay.
The dolomite beach comprises Phase 1 of the beach nourishment project the DENR is undertaking as part of Manila Bay’s rehabilitation.
The DENR-led rehabilitation aims to make Manila Bay’s water fit again for contact recreational activities.
The government earlier opened the dolomite beach for a limited time, enabling the public to get a glimpse of the area while complying with the minimum Covid-19 health protocols.
Aside from observing at least one-meter distance from people, the protocols include wearing of face masks and washing hands frequently. (PNA)