Police on Monday turned away onlookers who wanted to set foot on Manila Bay's artificial white beach, after weekend crowds led to the closure of the beautification project that riled environment groups.
A portion of the beach, made from crushed dolomite rocks, was opened to the public over the weekend in time for International Coastal Cleanup Day. For two days, quarantined Metro Manila residents had a beach escape to refresh their Facebook and Instagram feeds.
Photos showed that some in the crowd failed to observe proper social distance. The event generated buzz online and #ManilaBayChallenge trended due to the backlash. The Ermita police command, Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan was removed from his post following the weekend crowding incident.
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Manila Mayor Isko Moreno urged the public to avoid visiting Manila Bay due to the risk of catching the coronavirus. He said he asked the Department of Natural Resources to close off the area, which is still under construction.