MANILA - Malls should only partially resume operations after a 6-week lockdown of Luzon to prevent a fresh wave of coronavirus infections while the Philippines restarts its economy, an adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday.
Restaurants in malls should only offer take-out and delivery services when the lockdown ends on April 30 because diners cannot practice physical distancing in cramped spaces, said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.
Department stores should remain closed due to the potentially low demand, he said.
"Importante rin (it's also important) to really create your defense as you allow the economy to restart," he told DZMM.
"Social amelioration cannot last forever. That's impossible. The government cannot keep every month supporting the Filipino people so we have to transition slowly. We don't want the recurrence of the virus to happen," he added.
Concepcion said he also urged the President to resume government infrastructure projects and all manufacturing, even for non-essential products.
The government should also allow MRT and LRT operations and public transport in provinces to resume, he said.
Concepcion also called for the mandatory use of face masks in all public spaces and mass screening for the coronavirus.
Barangay hotspots for COVID-19 should remain under a "selective quarantine" that could be expanded to the whole town, city or province, depending on whether cases would continue to spike, he said.
"I don't think we can go back to a normal life until there is cure for the virus," he said.
An extension of the Luzon-wide lockdown until mid-May will hit worst daily wage earners who make up 90 percent of the workforce, as well as micro and small businesses in the services and non-essential sector, he said.
The Philippines as of Tuesday confirmed 5,223 cases of the respiratory disease, the highest tally in Southeast Asia.