Free WiFi no more, warmer air-conditioning: Some malls allowed to reopen

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2020 02:35 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2020 02:57 PM

MANILA -- Shopping malls outside lockdown areas in the Philippines will be allowed to reopen starting May 1 with new measures that discourage "lingering" as the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Free WiFi will be discontinued and the air conditioning will be set to 26 degrees Celsius. Visitors must be aged 21 to 59 and should not look "sickly," said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

Mall goers will also be required to wear face masks and use hand sanitizers, Roque said. "Non-leisure" shops will be allowed to reopen and store owners must meet "minimum health standards," he said.

The resumption of mall operations will be allowed from May 1 in areas under the "general" community quarantine, one notch below the "enhanced" community quarantine.

Shops in malls that are allowed to reopen are supermarkets,drugstores, banks, laundry service, restaurants for takeout or delivery only, and hardware stores.

Mall operators are also required to provide masks and gloves to employees as a precautionary measure. 

The Philippines' giant shopping malls were temporarily shut at the start of the enhanced community quarantine last March 17. The lockdown period in Metro Manila and other high risk areas was extended for the second time and is scheduled to end on May 15.