Manila Bay dolomite beach will be closed for six days in observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In a televised briefing Tuesday, Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said Filipinos are barred from visiting the beach from 29 October to 3 November in accordance with the pandemic task force’s guidelines to prevent coronavirus transmission.
“We’d like to inform the public that the dolomite beach is closed during Undas,” Antiporda told reporters during the news conference.
The DENR also prohibited children aged 12 and below to visit the beach amid concerns that gatherings in the area may lead to spread of Covid-19, he added.
Last week, the department reopened the man-made beach for a few hours a day, after Metro Manila was downgraded from alert level 4 to alert level 3.
Thousands of people flocked to the area over the weekend, raising concerns that it turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event.
Antiporda defended the DENR from criticism over its supposed lapses in implementing health protocols, saying officials had immediately asked people to disperse.
“We cannot say that we didn’t have shortcomings. We had a few lapses, but we immediately addressed it,” he said.
On Sunday, authorities started limiting the number of people entering the dolomite beach.
Malacañang and the health department have appealed to the public to observe Covid-19 protocols and reminded the police to enforce distancing rules in the area.
The DENR also assured the public it is working with other government agencies to improve the anti-coronavirus rules in the controversial dolomite beach.