More people flock to malls, restaurants on first day of Alert Level 3 in Muntinlupa

Published October 17, 2021, 3:40 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

There was an increase in the number of people in restaurants, malls and parks in Muntinlupa on Oct. 16, the first day of the implementation of Alert Level 3 in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) downgraded the alert level in NCR from 4 to 3, which took effect on Oct. 16 and will last on Oct. 31.

Tom’s World amusement arcade at SM Center Muntinlupa resumed operations under Alert Level 3 (SM Center Muntinlupa)

Under Alert Level 3, more business establishments and activities are allowed to operate including cinemas.

According to Muntinlupa police chief, Col. Melecio Buslig, because of the downgraded alert level in Muntinlupa, there was an “abrupt increase” in individuals eating in dine-in restaurants and going to malls, parks, and other places of convergence.

He also said there was an increase in public and private vehicles on major thoroughfares, and an increase in the number of commuters in transport terminals.

Heavy traffic was observed from Muntinlupa to Binan, Laguna from Saturday afternoon to evening as more vehicles were on the road.

Shopping malls in Muntinlupa adjusted their operating hours due to the new alert level.

SM Center Muntinlupa now operates from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Starmall Alabang announced that until Oct. 31, its mall hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. from Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Saturday to Sunday.

“Customers aged 18 to 65 years old only are allowed in the mall. Supermarket, drug stores, convenience stores, banks, courier services, money changer & remittance services, ATM centers, hardware & home essentials are open. Restaurants & food establishments are open for al fresco dining at 50% capacity and indoor dining at 30% capacity for fully vaccinated customers only. They are also open for pick-up, takeout and delivery,” it said.

The mall added that “pet shops, book stores, IT shops, toy stores, fashion and retail shops are open. Beauty salons, barber shops, and nail spas are open at 50% capacity if conducted outdoor and at 30% indoor capacity for fully vaccinated customers only. Recreational venues such as arcades, bowling alleys, cinemas, and similar venues are open at 30% capacity for fully vaccinated customers only.”

Under IATF’s Guidelines on the Implementation of Alert Levels System for COVID-19 Response in Pilot Areas as of Oct. 13, the following establishments and activities are allowed operate at a maximum of 30 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity:

a. Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE);

b. Permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers;

c. Visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, archives, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, and the like;

d. Amusement parks or theme parks;

e. Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues;

f. Cinemas and movie houses;

g. Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training;

h. In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased;

i. Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations administered by their respective government agency, and specialty examinations authorized by the IATF subject to the health and safety guidelines as approved by the IATF;

j. Dine-in services in food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols;

k. Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology, and other similar procedures including home service options, subject to the sector-specific protocols of the DTI;

l. Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols. Provided that patrons/clients and workers/employees wear face masks at all times and that no group activities are conducted;

m. Film, music, and television production, subject to the joint guidelines as may be issued by the DTI, DOLE, and the DOH.