By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday stressed that under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), movement of people is still restricted, even as business firms like malls have been allowed to reopen to reinvigorate the economy that was hit hard by the prolonged quarantine period.
He insisted that the people in areas with MECQ imposed are prohibited to roam the streets as huge crowds trooped to the malls on May 16 after quarantine rules were relaxed.
He noted that only authorized persons are allowed to leave their residences and report to work.
“But some are already going to the mall with the whole family, and that is not yet allowed; only one person per family is authorized to buy food to run errands under MECQ,” Año said.
“It’s a combination of restrictions, impositions by LGUs, the law enforcers and of course we need the cooperation of the mall management and owners. They have imposed what we call the minimum health standards or protocols, the number of people allowed inside the malls. They should observe that one person would occupy two square meters and they have to control the entry of mall-goers,” he added.
Over the weekend, some LGU officials and the Joint Task Force Coronavirus Shield team headed by its commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar inspected malls and warned the owners of business closure if they fail to impose minimum health standards.
Eleazar also warned that the PNP would file appropriate cases against malls not following the health protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We will facilitate the closure of these establishments and filing of necessary charges against them,” Eleazar said during his recent visit at the SM North Edsa and UP Town Center in Quezon City.
Eleazar pleaded to the public to just stay home as much as possible as a second or third wave of COVID-19 infection could be more destructive.