Malls that violate curfew, physical distancing face closure: gov't

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2020 02:49 PM | Updated as of May 17 2020 03:39 PM

Malls that violate curfew, physical distancing face closure: gov't 1
Shoppers observe physical distancing implemented by malls during its partial operation under the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila on May 17, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malls that violate physical distancing measures and curfew will be closed, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Sunday, as crowds gathered following the easing of lockdown rules in most areas.

Local officials and government's Joint Task Force COVID Shield have been instructed to inspect malls if they are complying with government's COVID-19 measures, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Police will examine all malls before and after its operating hours, he said.

"If the malls are not able to comply with the minimum health standards, the PNP (Philippine National Police) can close the malls and charge the mall owners with violation of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” Año said.

Año also advised the public to bring with them identification cards as police checkpoints will remain in all areas under community quarantine.

"The general rule continues to be ‘stay at home’ unless accessing essential services or going to work in permitted industries. Those found to be unauthorized will be fined, issued citation tickets, or detained if they refuse to go home," he said.

The government earlier released guidelines for malls which are meant to discourage the public from loitering. These include regulating the use of airconditioning, implementing physical distancing, and the removal of free internet connection, among others.

The resumption of mall operations was allowed beginning May 1 in areas under general community quarantine. The country's giant shopping centers were temporarily shut as Luzon was placed on lockdown beginning March 17 to contain the pandemic.