Makati City gov’t to strictly enforce social distancing rules, temporary closure of malls

Published March 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Dhel Nazario

Business establishments in Makati City that fail to comply with the safety protocols imposed by the mayor’s Executive Order (EO) No. 10, such as the temporary closure of malls and observance of social distancing measures, will be permanently closed.

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay said through the EO she signed Sunday, all malls in the city, as well as bars, KTVs, resto bars, cocktail lounges, gyms and similar fitness facilities, and other places where people congregate are ordered closed.

“Our inspection teams from the city Business Permit Office will monitor the compliance of malls and other establishments that have been ordered to close down. They will also check on businesses allowed to continue operations if they are strictly following the guidelines on social distancing and the ban on dine-in services, among others,” Mayor Binay said.

Under the EO, pharmacies, groceries, 24/7 convenience stores, hardware stores, medical clinics, diagnostic centers, laboratories, banks and financial institutions, and restaurants located inside malls will remain open. However, dine-in guests will not be allowed even in restaurants and other food establishments outside malls. Food will only be available for take-out or delivery so these establishments can effectively apply social distancing.

“This is not only for the safety of their guests but also for the crew and management who keep the businesses running,” the mayor said.

She also encouraged netizens to help the authorities by promptly reporting violations through My Makati, the city’s official Facebook page.

Condotels and hotels in Makati will also remain open; however, the mayor said their restaurants should only accommodate their own guests. Food establishments, even eateries, are required to practice social distancing, meaning people should maintain a distance of one meter apart from one another.

“Establishments and businesses that cannot practice social distancing will not be allowed to operate. For example, barbershops, salons, or spas which require employees to be in close proximity to their clients will have to close down,” Binay added.

Starting today, Makati will also implement a citywide curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Exempted from the curfew are call center agents and other night-shift workers, health workers and persons providing basic services and public utilities, authorized government officials, those traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, persons transiting to the airport for travel abroad, persons delivering food and medicines, and the essential skeletal workforce of the city government of Makati.

“Those who violate the curfew can be charged with a number of offenses under the penal code, including disobedience or alarm and scandal,” the mayor warned.

Binay also said the city government will be coming up with measures to minimize the economic impact of the month-long closures and restrictions.

“In the next few weeks, we will be discussing possible forms of assistance we can extend to affected businesses. We will look at incentives that will have a trickle-down effect that will ultimately benefit the affected employees,” she said.

The mayor also announced that the city is looking to hire 30 nurses, and expects the demand to increase when their isolation center becomes fully operational.

She also said the city government will be closely working with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to help augment the loss of income of affected workers. She said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello has assured her that displaced workers can apply for emergency employment with DOLE.

Under Executive Order No. 10 placing Makati City under General Community Quarantine from March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020, all city government-run facilities, except Ospital ng Makati and barangay health centers, will be closed to the public.

Mayor Abby said Makati City Hall will remain open with a skeletal workforce and will limit access to its premises. Thus, all applications for Yellow Card, Blu Card, PWD Card, Makatizen Card, and other social benefit cards will be suspended until things return to normal.