MANILA -- Malls should stay shut if they are unable to enforce physical distancing and safety protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said Monday.
People thronged the shopping centers over the weekend as the government started easing a 2-month long lockdown in Metro Manila and urban centers to stop the economy from shrinking.
Photos of crowded corridors, a violation of physical distancing protocols, went viral on social media and caused alarm. Mall operators have called on the public to observe new safety rules.
"Kung hindi n'yo kaya ang responsibilidad na paigtingin ang physical distancing, mga mask, ganyan e huwag po kayong magbukas... Huwag nating gawin ang mall e maging center ng COVID," said MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia, addressing mall owners.
(If you can't carry the responsibility of tightening physical distancing, the wearing of masks, don't reopen. Let's not turn mall into COVID centers.)
An inter-agency task force earlier told the public to stay at least 1 meter apart and wear masks to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission. Malls that defy physical distancing measures and curfew hours will be closed, the interior department said Sunday.