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

Marje Pelayo   •   May 25, 2020   •   2075

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)

Misamis Oriental confirms detection of one Delta variant case; pushes for stricter measure

Maris Federez   •   July 21, 2021

Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincent “Bambi” Emano on Tuesday confirmed the detection a Delta variant case in the province.

On Tuesday’s edition of the government’s Laging Handa program, Emano reported that the local government has conducted isolation on the family of the individual who was found positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Delta variant.

“Sa awa ng Dios ang mga kasamahan niya sa bahay ay na-isolate na natin. Started with one worker of the bank and ito pong katulong niya. Tapos randomly nakunan ng blood sample para dun sa UP Genome Center and found out to be positive dun sa Delta variant,” the governor said.

Emano said two of the four close contacts were found negative for COVID-19 and the other two were found positive for the virus. Their blood samples were sent to Manila for genome sequencing to find out if the Delta variant has also spread within the family.

The governor said that while the provincial government is prepared should the result of the two blood samples yield positive, they will still push for stricter measures in the province that, to date, has 340 active COVID-19 cases, one of which is the said Delta variant positive.

“Sa pangunguna po ni chief Gerry Calingatan, ang PHO (Provincial Health Office) po natin at Task Force chief ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) ng Misamis Oriental […] nakahanda na po yung plano and stand by and awaiting si provincial director (Col. Raniel) Valones, and Lt.Col. (Ricky) Canatoy on how we will tighten the area pati yung Gingoog City,” Emano said.

“And within the province, sa awa ng Dios, ang ganda na po ng takbo ng mga local government units at MHOs (Municipal Health Office) […] Hopefully when we can get the nod of the IATF national that we will request for an ECQ (enhance community quarantine) for the province of Misamis Oriental so that we will be able to push stricter measures po,” he added.

The governor also admitted having difficulty implementing the different quarantine levels in the entire province. To address this, and upon the recommendation of the IATF Misamis Oriental, even those areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) are implementing restrictions applied in ECQ areas.

“For dining areas, kahit pwede kami sa 50%, ginawa naming 30%. So we follow the guidelines para hindi na mahirapan that every time na tatawid sa boundary, mapapabago-bago pa yung quarantine level,” he said.

On the other hand, the flow of businesses and transportation sector in the province has remained normal following the guidelines of the IATF, the provincial chief executive said.

Meanwhile, the governor has admitted to experiencing a low supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

He, however, said that the Department of Health regional office has assured that they will increase the allocation of the supply of the vaccine in the province in the next delivery.

“Sa kakulangan, yes, medyo may kulang talaga yung vaccine po natin. Kasi aside sa from the health workers na nag 109% na tayo, sa senior citizens at sa comorbidities, nasa 25% pa lang po tayo sa Misamis Oriental. Dahil nga […] yung allocation sa Misamis Oriental sobrang kokonti,” he said.

“Pero kung tingnan mo naman yung inoculation rate, sa rollout, pinakamataas nga sa buong Pilipinas ang Region 10 and isa yung Misamis Oriental na medyo mabilis mag-inoculate. Kaya nakiusap kami, sumulat ako kay Regional Director Lacuna na kahit magdadagan muna nang kahit 20,000 doses ang Misamis Oriental, hopefully, will help us contain and inoculate muna yung mga bayan malapit sa City of Cagayan de Oro and yung Gingoog City po,” he further stated.

He also assured high public acceptance of the vaccine rollout in the province. Local government units in the province, regardless of any political affiliation, are implementing strategies to encourage the citizens to undergo vaccination, such as discounts on utility bills and grocery purchases.

Emano urges the public to take heed of the guidelines of the local government units on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. —/mbmf

Metro Manila, other areas under GCQ until July 31 – Roque

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila and other areas in the country will ease to a regular general community quarantine (GCQ) classification from July 16 to 31, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced Thursday.

In a statement, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the imposition of GCQ on the following areas:


  • Metro Manila
  • Baguio City
  • Apayao
  • City of Santiago
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Quezon
  • Batangas
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Zamboanga City
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Davao Oriental
  • General Santos City
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sarangani
  • Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Cotabato City


The following areas are under GCQ with heightened restrictions until July 31:


  • Cagayan
  • Laguna
  • Lucena City
  • Naga City in Region 5
  • Negros Oriental
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Davao City


The following areas will be under GCQ with heightened restrictions until July 22:


  • Aklan
  • Bacolod City
  • Antique
  • Capiz


Meanwhile, the following areas will be under modified enhanced community quarantine from July 16 to July 31:


  • Bataan
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao de Oro
  • Davao del Sur
  • Davao del Norte
  • Butuan City


Iloilo City and Iloilo Province shall also be placed under MECQ but only until July 22.

“Kung hindi po mag-improve ang ating mga numero ay possible po na mabago muli ang classification ng Iloilo City at Iloilo,” Roque said in a message.

All other areas in the country will be placed under modified general community quarantine from July 16, 2021 until July 31, 2021, he added.

OCTA Research says NCR should remain under GCQ until end of July

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The OCTA Research Group on Tuesday (July 13) recommended that the National Capital Region (NCR) should remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of July.

In a virtual public briefing, OCTA Research Team fellow, Dr. Ranjit Rye said that NCR is not yet ready for modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) due to the threat of the Delta variant in the country.

“We are not ready for MGCQ. We do not qualify based on the government’s criteria for MGCQ,” he said.

Rye advised the strict implementation of minimum health protocols as well as the monitoring of COVID-19 cases. He reported that the situation in the NCR is good and there is a need to sustain it along with the boost of vaccination rollout.

Rye also lamented the lax attitude of most people towards minimum public health standards.

“Marami na ang nagkukumpiyansa, at nagpapabaya lalo na sa minimum public health standards. Nandito pa ang COVID-19, buhay na buhay pa siya, at mahahawa kayo pag hindi kayo mag-iingat,” he said.

(Many are getting lax especially in following minimum public health standards. COVID-19 is still here and you might get infected if you are not careful.)

The NCR is under GCQ with some restrictions until July 15. The national government is set to announced the new quarantine classifications in the coming days. AAC


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