Briones: A toast to the future

Bar and some restaurant owners in Cebu City must be keeping their fingers crossed after Mayor Edgardo Labella bared plans to lift the liquor ban.

Wait. I should clarify.

Here in the city, lovers of the drink, me included, are free to purchase any type of liquor from the neighborhood sari-sari store, the convenience store or the grocery. In fact, there’s no limit as to how much you can buy as long as you take it home with you and consume it there.

Drinking outdoors, and that includes the sidewalk, is strictly prohibited for the moment, although I have seen this violated many times. Perhaps they think the restriction no longer applies since authorities just let them be. Never mind if their boisterous conversations sometimes bother children who are trying to study.

Anyway, the ban applies to the selling and serving of alcohol in bars and restaurants. I think there are exceptions. Hotels may be allowed to serve alcohol, but only to stay-in guests.

Trust me, Cebu is far from being a dry city.

Still, with Labella’s announcement, affected establishments have something to look forward to. Obviously, the current ban has affected their sales. Many have been forced to shut down, some for good, while others have laid off workers.

There is an overall air of optimism ever since coronavirus cases in the city and the entire island started to go down. The surge right after the holidays was a wake-up call that the pandemic is still in our midst. Many seem to have forgotten that in the rush of excitement to celebrate Christmas, New Year and Sinulog after months of being cooped up inside.

Don’t get me wrong. We are not out of the woods yet. Even if Labella pushes through with his plan, we have to do our part. Again, we don’t have to continue to live in fear of the disease, but that doesn’t mean we can pretend that it doesn’t exist.

So please observe minimum health guidelines when drinking out with friends and family. Or better yet, stay at home and drink to your heart’s content. No one will bother you, especially if you keep away from the microphone. Otherwise, you might find the police knocking on your door after your next-door neighbor phoned in to complain.

At this point, there is no way to go but forward and everybody has to be on the same page. The system to address the Covid problem is in place. The government has had more than 13 months to tweak it to suit our needs. It shouldn’t have to take a step back every time cases go up. Of course, the public must do its part to avoid another surge.

So let’s drink to the future!