Shoppers queue at a grocery store in Araneta Ave. in Quezon City on March 27, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
COVID-19 task force urges 12-hour operations for supermarkets, pharmacies
Alexis Romero ( - April 2, 2020 - 4:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Thursday urged establishments selling basic necessities to extend their operating hours to 12 hours to ensure that households have enough stock of goods during the quarantine period.
Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesman Karlo Nograles said local government units (LGUs) should allow the establishments to extend their business hours but should implement schemes to ensure proper social distancing in wet markets.

"Supermarkets, public and private wet markets, grocery stores, agri-fishery supply stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and other retail establishments engaged in the business of selling basic necessities are strongly encouraged to extend their store operations to a maximum of 12 hours," Nograles said in a televised press briefing.

"LGUs are directed to allow such establishments to operate pursuant to the foregoing," he added.

Nograles said among the social distancing measures that can be implemented are providing for specific daily schedules per sector or area.

Earlier, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año urged LGUs to lift the window hours in groceries or markets to avoid crowding.

"I'm advising all LGU's to lift what we call the window hours for marketing or buying because if you set window hours, there would be crowding of people. It should be at 12 hours and should observe strictly social distancing," he said in a press briefing late last month.

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