COVID-19

Are minors allowed inside malls? MMDA says only for essential reasons

Dwight de Leon
Are minors allowed inside malls? MMDA says only for essential reasons

REOPENING THE ECONOMY. Mall goers inside a mall in Manila on July 30, 2021.

Dante Diosina Jr/Rappler

Metro Manila mayors also sign a resolution adopting IATF guidelines which allow minors to travel as long as they are accompanied by a parent or an adult guardian

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Tuesday, October 19, that people below 18 years old may be granted entry in shopping malls, but only if they are accompanied by an adult, and if they are there for essential activities.

“Kung sila ay kukuha ng essential services, [tulad ng] pagpapa-check-up sa clinic, pagpapatingin sa doktor sa mata, sa dentista, kung nagkataon na sa mall sila pupunta. Siguro kailangan iyong security ng mall tatanungin kung may appointment sila sa pupuntahan nila,” said Victor Trinidad, MMDA representative to the technical working group (TWG) of the Interagency Task Force (IATF).

(If they are in the mall for essential services, like a check up at the clinic, or with the eye doctor or dentist. The mall security must ask them if they have an appointment.)

“Marami pong maaaring magpalusot na pupunta lang sa mall para pumasyal ang mga bata, e gusto nating proteksyunan ang mga bata dahil hindi pa po sila vaccinated,” Trinidad added.

(Kids may give alibis to go malling for leisure. What we want is to protect the children because they are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19.)

Trinidad’s statement was made in a press briefing after the MMDA released a resolution signed by all 17 mayors adopting IATF guidelines on allowing minors to travel.

“The intrazonal and interzonal travel of persons below 18 years old shall be allowed provided that these persons shall be accompanied by a parent or an adult guardian at all times,” the resolution read. Interzonal travel refers to movement between areas with different lockdown classifications; in intrazonal travel, areas with same lockdown classifications.

It was apparent during the press briefing that MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos had a difficult time categorically answering questions on whether minors are allowed to enter indoor commercial establishments.

The former Mandaluyong mayor even had to explain that the guidelines were still being finalized, and that they relied only on the policies of the IATF.

IATF rules give LGUs the discretion to determine “reasonable restrictions” on travel based on age and comorbidities.

“We must remember that everything is actually pilot, that’s why we can say that it’s really being fine-tuned right now,” Abalos said.

Metro Manila is under general community quarantine (GCQ) with Alert Level 3 until October 31, which meant that most business establishments are permitted to operate at varying degrees.

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The metropolis was dealing with over 13,000 active coronavirus cases as of Monday, October 18. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.