QC malls halt operations amid COVID-19 spread, says Belmonte

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2020 03:12 AM

Quezon City mall operators have agreed to stop operations starting Monday up to April 14 or until the government lifts the enhanced community quarantine imposed due to the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Mayor Joy Belmonte said. 

This was reached following a dialogue with the local government with a signed pledge of cooperation containing general and specific guidelines based on the Metro Manila Council’s resolution on the operation of shopping malls, according to Belmonte.

“I want you to be able to tell us what your needs would be because I would like you to consider the Quezon City government as your family member. We understand the economic cost that this would bring to all of us,” she said.

“We are doing this because we care about the city, and you are making this sacrifice together with the city government because you are one with us, we are family here in Quezon City."

Under the pledge, “essential establishments” can operate, including health clinics, veterinary clinics, diagnostic centers and laboratories, dental clinics, drugstores, supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, banks, remittance centers, pawnshops, money changers, and others that offer essential goods or services.

Buildings like hotels, restaurants, and establishments connected or adjacent to malls, which can restrict general public access to malls, are not covered.

The mayor added that restaurants are allowed to operate provided that they offer takeout and delivery services, if any.

Mall operators are encouraged to follow safeguard protocols by the Department of Health (DOH) to contain the virus.

"Malls also committed to guarantee that essential establishments strictly adhere to public safety hours issued by the City and ensure that they are open at least one hour after it ends and close at least one hour before it begins," the mayor said.

"The current hours of operation for malls should not be earlier than 7 p.m. and not later than 7 p.m."

President Rodrigo Duterte has announced an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon as the government sought to arrest the rapidly spreading COVID-19.

The health department has recorded a total of 142 cases so far, including three recovered cases and 12 fatalities.

COVID-19 cases have been reported in over 100 countries, infecting more than 160,000 people, with more than 6,000 deaths. The World Health Organization has described it a pandemic.