Mall owners agree to retain ban on cosmetics sampling, dine-in services even under GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   May 25, 2020   •   1611

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 wants to ensure the strict implementation of the new normal setup in crowd-inviting places such as malls and shopping centers especially in Metro Manila. 

The Task Force maintained that mall operations will remain limited even after quarantine measures are lifted.

Specifically, close contact services such as make-up or cosmetics sampling as well as dine-in services in food chains and restaurants will remain prohibited.

Also, mall owners have agreed to install equipment in fitting areas for garments and shoes to ensure that the items being fit will not be contaminated for the protection not only of the customers but the staff as well.

“In make-up [cosmetics], because that requires close contact, that’s a no-no. For apparel, because there are a lot of fitting of clothes, there’s a specific equipment and protocols,” explained Gino Borromeo, the vice president of Strategy Development and Premier Malls Marketing at SM Supermalls. 

“We need to make sure the clothes are clean for fitting and we are working on individual tenants for borrowing best practices from around the world. So expect to see that and the implementation very soon,” he added.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Health (DOH) said that until a vaccine is discovered against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), strict protocols will be implemented in malls. 

Sayang po ang efforts ng Department of Health. Sayang po ang pag- stay natin sa bahay ng two months na hindi tayo pwedeng lumabas kung babalewalain lang din natin (The efforts of the DOH and our sacrifices to stay indoors for two months will be useless if these [protocols] will be ignored),” noted DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo. 

Kapag masyado tayong nag- enjoy na pwede under GCQ, na pwede na po anything, hindi po. The virus is still here, hindi siya umaalis, hindi siya namimili kung nasa ECQ, MECQ or nasa GCQ. It’s there hanggang hindi po sinasabi ng DOH safe na (If we enjoy too much the relaxed restrictions under GCQ — thinking that anything is allowed now under GCQ— that is not the case. The virus is still here, it has not gone away and it doesn’t discriminate between ECQ, MECQ or GCQ. It’s there until DOH says it safe already),” she added. 

Mall officials agreed to adopt and maintain the one-meter physical distancing measure, the ‘no mask-no entry’ policy and the regular body temperature checking at the mall entrance. 

Likewise, malls will impose a ‘one-way traffic’ wherein directional arrows will be installed to guide shoppers of the proper entry and exit within the mall.

There will be constant advisory of the proper health and safety protocols that mall goers should practice as part of the new normal in the establishment. 

“This is gonna be a long situation, the cure is not there yet. The vaccine is probably not there yet. So we have to do this for a longer period of time so we have to continue our lives while following new normal practices especially distancing and disinfection,” noted Lafayette Lim, the CEO and president of the NCCC group of companies.

Mall officials also remind shoppers to always bring their quarantine pass.

Senior citizens, likewise, need to be accompanied by only one relative when inside the mall. 

Age restriction will be strictly imposed, therefore all 21-year-olds and below will not be allowed.

Wi-Fi connection will be cut and cooling units will be lowered down to moderate to discourage bystanders. 

As an added measure, mall owners are planning to install UV light equipment to aid in the disinfection of facilities and items inside the mall. 

The DOH advised the public to get used to the new normal within the mall premises until a vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered. 

“Ginagawa na po ng gobyerno, ng mall owners ang kinakailangan (The government and mall owners are doing what is necessary),” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Ang kailangan naman po ngayon ay ang ating mga kababayan na sumunod sa mga pamantayan at maging reponsable din (What the public needs to do now is to obey with the regulations and be responsible),” she concluded. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Metro Manila, 7 other areas to end year 2020 under GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   December 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday evening (November 30) the new round of community quarantines from December 1 until December 31, 2020.

Aside from Metro Manila, other areas placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) include Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao Del Sur, Iligan City, Davao City and Davao Del Norte.

Meanwhile, the rest of the country remains under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until the end of the year.

Given the new restrictions, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reminds all agencies and local government units to intensify information campaigns on health protocols this holiday season.

“Mabuting manatili sa bahay, at magkaroon lamang ng maliit na salo-salo kasama ang immediate family members upang maiwasan tayong mahawa at ang ating mga kapamilya, (It would be best to just stay at home and have a small buffet with immediate family members to avoid getting infected and transmission among family members),” said Duque.

This was supported by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año adding that it would be best to refrain from large gatherings like partying and caroling. 

“Iyon pong family reunion ay considered mass gathering, katulad po ng sinabi ni Sec. Duque, immediate family lang sana ang mag-celebrate at kailangan po ang minimum health standard ay ipatutupad (Family reunions are considered mass gathering. Like what Sec. Duque said, it would be best to celebrate with immediate family and minimum health standards are observed),” he said.

Duque said the Department of Health (DOH) is now preparing its facilities in anticipation of the the surge in COVID-19 cases after the holidays.

For President Duterte, still the best preventive measures against any infectious disease is proper hand washing, wearing of facemask, and staying at home. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Davao City reverted to GCQ until Nov. 30 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City has reverted to general community quarantine (GCQ) following the increase of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city, Malacañang announced Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Davao City will be under GCQ beginning Friday, November 20 until November 30.

A one hospital command center will also be established in the city to ensure an “efficient referral system” as private hospitals are mandated to increase their ward bed occupancy up to 30%.

“Further, efforts will be made to address the shortage of nurses in health facilities and to provide additional high-oxygen cannulae, Favipiravir (Avigan), Remdesivir, medical equipment, among others,” Roque said in a statement.

“Accommodation establishments will be tapped to serve as quarantine facilities for health workers as well as the isolation of positive cases of COVID-19,” he added.

Law enforcement agencies are likewise directed to assist in the enforcement of granular lockdowns upon affected communities or clusters, and if necessary, deploy personnel in the city.

Melquiades Feliciano, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 for the cities and Bacolod and Cebu, has been assigned to head the teams to be deployed in Davao City to assist in the response activities.

Data from the Department of Health Region 11 showed that as of Nov. 19, Davao City has recorded 5,520 COVID-19 cases, 1,874 of which are active.

The regional Inter-Agency Task Force earlier declared Davao City as a restricted local government unit which limits the movement and entry of travelers who will be visiting the city by either air, land, or sea to curb the rising coronavirus infections.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) No. 63 which details the requirements and the list of authorized persons outside residence allowed entry to the city. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lucille Lloren)

GCQ extended in Metro Manila until end of November

Maris Federez   •   October 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until November 30.

President Rodrigo Duterte made the announcement in a taped address to the nation aired on Tuesday (Oct. 27), after meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The President has also decided to keep Batangas, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Iligan City and Lanao del Sur under GCQ until the end of November.

Nevertheless, local government units still have until October 28 to appeal to the IATF on the quarantine classification of their respective areas for the next month.

Metro Manila mayors have earlier stated that they want to keep the GCQ status for the NCR until the end of the year. They, however, applied eased restrictions on movement, travel, and business.

Except for Navotas City, the whole of NCR is implementing lesser curfew hours to allow more businesses to recover.

The Philippines had been under community quarantine classification since March due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. —(with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

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