Metro Manila mayors ask malls to close during coronavirus lockdown

Rambo Talabong

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Metro Manila mayors ask malls to close during coronavirus lockdown

(4th UPDATE) Exemptions include supermarkets, groceries, medical facilities, pharmacies, banks, and restaurants with home delivery services

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – All Metro Manila malls and other establishments have been asked to stop operations on the eve of the  30-day lockdown of the national capital region that begins on Sunday, March 15, to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said Metro Manila mayors made the collective call as he read a resolution approved by the Metro Manila Council (MMC) on Saturday, March 14.

The MMC “strongly recommend to all Local Legislative Councils of the NCR to issue ordinary ordinances for the temporary close of malls and establishments of the same kind, except those offering essential services (i.e groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants with home deliveries, and establishments offering medical services) from 14 March 2020 until 13 April 2020, subject to day-to-day evaluation and other exemptions that their city or municipality may enact.”

The MMC has among its members all Metro Manila mayors and lawmakers and some Cabinet members.

Ahead of the issuances of the local ordinances, Ayala Malls announced that it would close all its malls in Metro Manila at 7 pm on Saturday, and would adjust mall hours starting Monday, March 16, at Greenbelt 1 (10 am to 8 pm) and Greenbelt 2, 3, 4, and 5 (11 am to 8 pm) until further notice.

SM Supermalls announced adjusted mall hours – from 11 am to 7 pm beginning Sunday, March 15. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) urged local governments to  “to clarify the guidelines of the curfew so that public and tourism stakeholders are guided accordingly and that the best interests of everyone concerned are considered.” 

“We urge the LGUs to possibly consider that establishments, such as, but not limited to restaurants, hotels, groceries, convenience stores and drugstores, which operate longer than the recommended curfew period, be allowed to operate on a limited scale, as this is to the public’s interest,” the DOT said in a statement on Saturday.

“These establishments must be given sufficient lead time to prepare their personnel as well,” it added. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.