Gov’t wants supermarkets, pharmacies to operate for 12 hours

Sofia Tomacruz
Gov’t wants supermarkets, pharmacies to operate for 12 hours

The Inter-Agency Task Force also suggests scheduled market days per sector, barangay, or purok to keep people from spending long hours in queues to get their basic needs

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s coronavirus task force on Thursday, April 2, urged all supermarkets, pharmacies, and other similar establishments to operate up to 12 hours to give residents more time to purchase essential goods. 

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the coronavirus outbreak, made the announcement during a Laging handa briefing, where he relayed the government’s latest response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

“Supermarkets, public and private wet markets, grocery stores, agri-fishery supply stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and other retail establishments engaged in the business of selling basic necessities are strongly encouraged to extend their store operations to a maximum of 12 hours,” he said. 

Since the Luzon lockdown started on March 11, supermarkets around Metro Manila have been operating for an average of 8 to 10 hours.  

The IATF called on local government units to allow such establishments to operate and to ensure that social distancing measures were still in place during the adjusted operation hours.  

Nograles said the IATF also suggested scheduled market days per sector, barangay, or purok among other possible solutions to people spending long hours outside their homes when they should be on home quarantine.

Long lines at supermarkets and pharmacies, which were among the limited number of business allowed to operate during the lockdown, have forced residents to leave their homes for hours just to buy basic goods. 

The move aims to give residents more room to buy goods needed as they hunker down during the month-long Luzon lockdown will last until April 12, unless extended or lifted earlier. –

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at