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Minors may soon be allowed inside malls with their parents

In areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) like Metro Manila, children may soon be allowed to leave their homes, including for trips to the mall, as long as they are with their parents.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año gave this update on Monday, November 30, during a meeting of coronavirus task force officials with President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Doon po sa pag-utos natin na p'wede na ang gradual expansion ng mga age group para makalabas, ang mga minors po basta accompanied ng mga magulang ay papayagang makalabas at makapunta sa mall," said Año.

(As to our rule that we will allow the gradual expansion of age groups that can go out, minors who are accompanied by their parents will be allowed to go out and go to the mall.)

This relaxation of the rules will need to be decided by mayors of areas under GCQ, continued Año, whose department oversees local governments.

The upcoming easing of age restrictions comes even as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III warned of a "post-holiday surge" in COVID-19 cases.

In the Monday meeting, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted there was an uptick in cases in Metro Manila, Tacloban City, Iloilo City, and other urban hubs in the country.

Easing of age restrictions

The national government first relaxed age-based restrictions on movement last October 15.

In its 79th resolution, the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed 15- to 20-year-olds and 61- to 65-year-olds to leave their homes even for non-essential activities.

Previously, people in these age groups were told to stay in their residences at all times.

Still, the national government left it to city or provincial governments to decide how they would implement this order. Local governments also had the option to raise above 15 years old the age range allowed to go out.

This easing of the rules comes as the Philippines enters the Christmas holidays. In the same meeting on Monday, Duterte announced that Metro Manila, Iloilo City, Davao City, and 5 other areas will be under GCQ in December.

The rest of the country will be under modified general community quarantine, the loosest quarantine classification. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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