Stall malls for now

March 16, 2020

They are the best, surest medium for viral transmission.

Self-contained, enclosed, airconditioned, and densely packed public assembly venues.

These are perfect conditions for the spread of the 2019 corona virus.

They may not be as “densely packed” as commercial aircraft or cruise  ships, but shopping  malls are still functional “culture dish” for a deadly viral bloom.

Thus, local authorities are on the right track in requesting  malls and other commercial  establishments to temporarily halt operations to dissuade the public from going out as the government imposed a Metro Manila-wide community quarantine amid the coronavirus disease 2019 beginning Sunday.

In a resolution read by San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora on Saturday, all Metro Manila mayors "strongly recommended" the issuance of ordinances for the temporary closure of malls and similar establishments.

Exemptions include businesses offering essential services, such as groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants with home deliveries, banks, and establishments offering medical services.

The mayors urged concerned malls to implement the recommendation "from March 14 to April 13, 2020" subject to a day-to-day evaluation and other exemptions the city or municipality may enact.

This developed as the region declared a curfew in the entire Metro Manila beginning March 15 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

In a press conference, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia also reminded that there is no need to hoard supplies as businesses selling food and other items will remain operational throughout the period.

"Don't panic. Our supplies are enough. We allow the delivery of goods, vegetables coming in from the North will be allowed to enter Metro Manila," he said.

Meanwhile industrial companies  which cannot afford to stop or even slow down operations have been called upon to adopt workplace distancing or the provision of safe space hetween and among workers.

The Department of Labor and  Employment on Saturday advised workers to maintain their distance with each other in their respective workplaces as part of the government's efforts to help contain the Coovid-19 transmission.

In Labor Advisory 11, Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre Bello III encouraged the social distance measure as well as the flexible work arrangements for private sector companies.