Gov’t threatens to close down malls that fail to enforce physical distancing rules

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — The Department of the Interior and Local Government warns it will close down shopping malls that fail to implement physical distancing protocols, as lockdown measures are eased in Metro Manila.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said he has instructed the Philippine National Police and all local government units to closely monitor all malls and ensure their observance of minimum health standards and quarantine measures recommended by the inter-agency task force (IATF).

“All Chiefs of Police and PCP Commanders should make rounds of all malls prior to opening and during operating hours. If the malls are not able to comply with the minimum health standards, the PNP can close the malls and charge the mall owners with violation of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” Año said.

According to the DILG chief, only authorized persons are allowed to go outside of the house, and only one member of the family should be tasked to go out to buy essential goods.

“Hindi natin pwedeng ilagay sa panganib ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan kaya we hold our mall owners, mall managements to be responsible and accountable in implementing the required minimum health standards,” Año told CNN Philippines on Sunday.

[Translation: We cannot put the lives of our people at risk, that’s why we hold our mall owners, mall managements to be responsible and accountable in implementing the required minimum health standards.]

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said the IATF should reconsider its decision to allow the reopening of shopping malls.

“We haven't gone past the first wave yet, so I'm not sure about a second wave,” Lacson said. “I think the IATF should reconsider their decision on the opening of the malls and other similar establishments unless strict physical distancing and other protocols are observed.”

On Sunday, Department of Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire also voiced her concern about the number of people flocking to the malls.

RELATED: Another total lockdown may be needed if COVID-19 cases surge — DOH

"This is actually a shifting or transitioning para mapababa at mapababa ang community quarantine. Pero kung makikita po natin ito tapos biglang mag-surge ang cases natin, malaki po ang posibilidad na...we need to do another total lockdown, if cases will increase," she said.

[Translation: This is actually a shifting or transitioning so we can ease down the community quarantine. But if we see this, and cases suddenly surge, there is a big possibility that…we need to do another total lockdown, if cases will increase.]