Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Monday urged the public to forego visiting Manila Bay's man-made white and beach for their own safety during this pandemic. He said he asked the environment department to close off the area, which is under construction.
People thronged the attraction made from crushed dolomite rocks on Saturday and Sunday and based on photos, the minimum one-meter physical distancing requirement was not observed at all times. The police commander of Ermita district which has juisdiction over the area was removed from his post.
"Pakiusap ko lang sa mga mamamayan, gustohin man natin makita yung Manila Bay white sand, e siguro may iba pa namang panahon (I appeal to the public, even if we want to see the Manila Bay white sand, maybe some other time)," he said.
"I already asked the DENR to close the, yung bakod, kasi hard hat pa may construction pang nagaganap (I already asked the DENR to close the fences because it's a hard hat area and construction is ongoing)," Moreno told reporters.
The plot of white sand has become so popular it has been pinned on Google Maps as Manila Bay Sands. Authorities said the attraction was meant to provide an escape withing the city for millions under quarantine for six months and counting. Green groups questioned its sustainability and timeliness.
Moreno said the public, for now, should be content with browsing picutres and videos of the white sand beach on social media. He said Manila Bay Sands was proof that "the impossible can be possible."
"Paalala ko pa din na meron pang pandemya. Meron pa hong pangamba (A reminder, we are still in a pandemic. There's still fear)," he said.
A one-meter distance between people during the COVID-19 pandemic could help save thousands of lives according to various studies. In fact, the one-meter requirement was maintained in public transport.