Yesterday, January 29, the Manila City Government announced the cancellation of all events related to the Chinese New Year due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Under Executive Order No. 4, Manila Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno said the February 11 to February 12 celebration would be an “easy medium of COVID-19 spread and transmission” if they were not canceled.
“Hangga’t maari, wala muna tayong mga activities that will encourage assembly of people in an area or public place. Kaya ‘yung ating mga dragon dance, ‘yung mga parada, huwag niyo po muna gagawin,” Mayor Isko said in Mariz Umali’s report on “24 Oras.”
In fact, the mayor also banned the sale of liquor in the Binondo Chinatown area for the duration of the event. To those who are expecting spectacular firework displays, this year will be totally different. He prohibited the use of fireworks and pyrotechnic devices “to ensure the health and safety of the public during the entire duration of the celebration of Chinese or Lunar New Year.”
NEWS ALERT: Manila City Mayor @IskoMoreno says no dragon dance, street party, stage show, parade or any other similar activity will be held for the celebration of the Chinese New Year from February 11 to 12. #AlertoManileno pic.twitter.com/wGoUBHmsVq
— Manila Public Information Office (@ManilaPIO) January 29, 2021
Lion and dragon dancer Marel Wong said he understood the cancellation of the events, but stressed that it would have a big effect on their livelihood.
“Sobrang hirap po kasi ang laki po talagang epekto na nangyari itong pandemic. Instead na i-compare natin last year, ang mga client natin, sila mismo ang tumatawag sa amin para mag-celebrate sila ng Chinese New Year,” Wong said.
“Pero ngayon, 70 percent ang nawala. ‘Yung rate po nila sobrang baba na rin. Compare mo last year po, makaka-demand ho kayo ng presyo. Ngayon po wala na ho,” he added.
On the other hand, some of the affected businessmen in Binondo shared that they were adjusting to the change in profit. However, they said that the celebration of the Chinese New Year is more important than profit.
“Expected pa rin namin na may kaonting decrease sa sales. Marami rin kaming naisip na mag-adopt sa online market places,” Geric Chua said.
“As long as kasama mo ang pamilya mo, kumpleto kayo, masaya kayo sa bahay, napaka festive na rin noon at ‘yung ang importante,” he added.