In probably the least surprising, and in fairness most sensible decisions taken of late bars, clubs, beer houses, internet cafes, and other “non essential” establishments (all of them) in Walking Street have been ordered to close.
This is at the directive of March 16th from Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Junior, and is for undermined amount of time, AKA until further notice, in line with the governments preventative measures related to the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
The move is hardly unexpected given the risks posed by these bars, many of them are extremely small, and very not much not compatible with “keeping a safe distance”, or self-quarantine. One also accepts that girly bars, whilst important for entrainment, are not exactly “essential”.
But, the economic effect on the whole city, and indeed province is likely to be huge. Most of the people working in the service industry in the Philippines simply will not get paid if they do not work, there is no ambiguity here. And of course this completely avoids the fact that a lion’s share of the workers earn their money through tourism, or to put it blankly the legendary bar fine.
It is obviously impossible to predict what the future holds (if this year has taught us anything it is that), but expect to see many more bar, and restaurant closures around Fields Avenue, Koreatown, and beyond.
What, if any measures the government will take to assist small businesses is very much yet to be seen, but in a country that already has deep poverty it is doubtful the government can afford to do all that much, even if it truly wanted to.
Lock yourself in, for this surely looks like it will be a very long, and drawn out rollercoaster ride.