This is how the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) described reports or pictures in social media posts showing people flocking to malls when the enhanced community quarantine was downgraded to modified in Metro Manila starting May 16.
During the virtual hearing of the House Defeat COVID-19 Committee (DCC) New Normal Cluster, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez showed the result of the department’s own ocular inspection of malls.
According to Lopez, social distancing protocols were observed in the malls, groceries and other outlets who have resumed operations starting May 16.
“We made an inspection yesterday just for me to see also and verify the various fake news that are coming out that there’s so many people na nag-violate ng social distancing in the opening of the malls. So we checked personally some malls in the metropolis na that are usually on a Sunday afternoon punung-punongtao,” Lopez said.
“So dito (sa pictures), we can see nahindinamanganunkaramiangtao,” the Secretary told the panel chaired by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda.
Lopez noted that crowds in malls during their inspection only comprised 20 percent of the people who would normally visit shopping centers on “a typical Sunday.”
“In fact, nakakaawangaangmgatindahan at mga malls kasikauntiangtaotalaga,” he added.
The DTI stressed that so far, only about 20 percent of the stores have opened.
Metro Manila was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) under which select stores and business establishments are allowed to resume operation.
Meanwhile, Lopez reiterated guidelines on the operations of malls and shopping centers in areas under general community quarantine.
Among the guidelines are: limit the number of people inside the mall or shopping center or individual store; reduce the number of open mall entrances to better manage foot traffic; senior citizens, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities obtaining essential goods are allowed only one companion; ensure social distancing of people (one meter apart) at all times; assign personnel to regulate foot traffic in high-density areas; ensure that every customer stand on every other step of the escalator to maintain safe distancing; create one-way flow, where possible, to decongest queues and facilitate movement; increase police visibility, should there be a need to enforce physical distancing.