Mall sales get pandemic task force's nod

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2020 02:13 PM | Updated as of Oct 16 2020 09:40 PM

A poster reminding shoppers to maintain social distance to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is placed beside an escalator in a shopping mall in Quezon City, May 17, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA - The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response has allowed sales in malls, Malacañang said Friday, as authorities sought to boost the pandemic-battered economy. 

"Ang mga establishments at mga malls may hold activities para magkaroon ng economic o business activity. Ito po 'yong mga sale," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque 
(Establishments and malls may hold activities to spur economic or business activity. These are the sales.)

"Pero subject po ito sa DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) guideline in the operation of malls and shopping malls," he said in a Laging Handa public briefing. 

(But this will be subject to the DTI guideline in the operation of malls and shopping malls.)

The IATF also allowed the trade department to adjust the onsite operational capacity of all business establishments and activities in areas that are under general community quarantine or lower, said Roque. 

The task force urged local governments to exempt workers, authorized persons outside their homes and necessary establishments from curfew hours, he said. 

The months of October to December typically see the highest in retail revenues, Roque said Thursday. 

"Inaasahan po natin na magbubukas tayo nang sapat para magkaroon po ng maximum opportunity ang merkado na makabawi," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

(We expect that we will open up the economy enough and that there will be a maximum opportunity for the markets to recover.)

"Sana po itong October, November, December we can somehow catch up nang hindi naman po ganoon kalaki ang maging contraction ng ating ekonomiya," he told reporters. 

(We hope that this October, November, December we can somehow catch up so that our economic contraction will not be that big.)

The Philippines is forecast to see a 6.9 percent economic contraction this year, the World Bank has said, the biggest since the 1980s and worse than the government's projected 5.5 percent decline. 

Its recovery has been constrained by an unrelenting first wave of infections since March, with more than 340,000 cases, Southeast Asia's second highest number, limiting its ability to fully reopen businesses, and restart domestic and international tourism. 

- With a report from Reuters