Malls should limit crowds to dodge COVID-19 threat: gov't adviser


Posted at May 18 2020 10:30 AM | Updated as of May 18 2020 10:51 AM

Malls should limit crowds to dodge COVID-19 threat: gov't adviser 1
A elderly man wearing a protective mask carries a take-away bag as he rides an escalator inside a shopping mall, which has reopened after two months as lockdown restrictions ease amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Quezon City, May 17, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA — Malls should cap the number of shoppers allowed inside their premises at a time as a safeguard against the COVID-19 pandemic, an adviser to the government's crisis task force said Monday. 

Shopping mall operators and their patrons have a "shared responsibility" to follow pandemic protocols, said Dr. Tony Leachon, adviser of Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19. 

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.

"Ang mall hindi nakapag-prepare. Dapat meron silang ini-prepare na social distancing measures... iyong guard nire-regulate ang pagpasok," Leachon said said 
(The malls were unprepared. They should have prepared social distancing measures. Guards should have regulated the entrance of shoppers.) 

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The 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. 

The Philippines loosened its lockdown in the same week that its COVID-19 tally breached the 12,000-mark

The government aims to test 1 percent of its 1 million people for the novel coronavirus by May 30, said Leachon.