COVID-19

Bacolod investigates Art District party for breaking COVID-19 protocols

Marchel P. Espina
Bacolod investigates Art District party for breaking COVID-19 protocols

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A viral video shows participants partying in Art District without face masks and physical distancing

A party in Art District at Barangay Mandalagan in this city on Friday night, November 6, is now being investigated by authorities as attendees were seen disregarding the minimum health protocols against COVID-19.

Maria Joy Maredith Madayag, city director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, in a memorandum to the regional office, said the incident was reported by the Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center for immediate action.

“From the video circulating in the social media with #vivaexcon2020, attendees were seen partying without face masks, (without) social distancing, and (while) consuming alcohol in public,” she said.

Madayag said the Business Permit and Licensing Office will conduct an inspection, while the Philippine National Police were ordered to further intensify its “Oplan Sita,” or checkpoint operations.

She also said that the barangay was directed to strictly monitor these areas and implement the national and local laws and issuances in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, who chairs the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19, said the matter will be investigated.

The organizers of the Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (VIVA ExCon) explained that there was no event at the Art District in Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod City on Friday, November 6.

‘Unfortunate’

In a statement Monday, November 9, the organizers said that in preparation for the VIVA ExCon opening on November 8 to be conducted virtually, an exhibition was organized for the sole purpose of simulating a live opening for video recording.

“There was no event, no invitation was sent, and no announcement was made. It was unfortunate that the set attracted the usual Art District crowd and management was not able to control their enthusiasm,” the statement said.

However, the organizers did stop the activity after sufficient takes to disperse the crowd. Subsequently, Art District remained closed on the following days, it added.

The organizers said that the main goal of VIVA ExCon was to celebrate Visayan art by bridging the islands of the Visayas to provide a venue to facilitate dialogues, interaction, networking and cultural exchanges, thus, addressing fundamental and relevant issues among visual art communities and related stakeholders.

“We care about our community and we feel it is our responsibility to try to keep the spirits of the artists alive during this unprecedented struggle. This is the very reason why VIVA ExCon is going virtual for the first time in its 30 years of existence,” it said.

The organizers also apologized to the community for what had happened.

“With all humility, the art family extends our apology to the community for the concern raised regarding the November 6 occurrence.  We would like to reassure the community that as a matter of habit, Art District conforms to the mandated health protocol and consistently assists those within its reach through the Art Heals fundraising initiative to deliver aid throughout the course of the quarantine,” the statement said. – Rappler.com

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