MANILA, Philippines — Control measures enforced at malls and shopping centers were relaxed beginning yesterday to allow more patrons to enjoy their visit, encourage spending and spur economic activity, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
Under Memorandum Circular 20-55, the DTI relaxed certain control measures and now allows malls and commercial centers to set air conditioning to cooler temperatures, provide free WiFi services for customers, and hold sales and promo events.
Specifically, air-conditioning temperature can now be set below 24 degrees Celsius while free WiFi service, which usually attracts more customers, can be switched on.
In addition, the malls can hold sales promotion activities and marketing events, but would have to ensure strict physical distancing is observed and permits are secured from the DTI Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau.
Last week, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) decided to allow malls to conduct sale events.
In addition, the IATF expanded the age group of individuals allowed to go out of their homes to 15 to 65 years old from the previous 21 to 60 years old.
The government has been pushing for the reopening of the economy to enable more people to work and restore consumer confidence for economic recovery.
While some control measures have been eased, the DTI said malls and commercial centers would have to make sure the so-called “seven commandments” against the coronavirus disease are implemented.
These are: the wearing of face masks; wearing face shields; no talking and eating in confined areas; adequate ventilation; frequent and proper disinfection; isolation of symptomatic or individuals who are positive for COVID-19, and physical distancing.
To ensure compliance, the DTI will monitor malls through a post-audit mechanism. Inspections may also be conducted by other government agencies such as the Departments of Health (DOH) and of Labor and Employment (DOLE), as well as the local government units’ health office at any time.
For complaints, the public can report these through the DTI Consumer Care Hotline 1-384.
Meanwhile, 900 bicycles will be given out by the DOLE to displaced informal workers to help them earn a living during this pandemic.
Addressing yesterday’s “Laging Handa” public briefing, DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) director, Karen Trayvilla, said the “Free Bisikleta Project” will benefit selected displaced workers who will need the bicycle for their alternative livelihood.
“We will be distributing bicycles to displaced workers, particularly from the informal sector who have lost their source of income because of the pandemic. They will use it for business,” Trayvilla said.
She said beneficiaries may use the bicycles for online food delivery services, which have become a popular business since COVID-19 forced families to stay indoors.
DOLE regional offices will do the profiling to identify qualified beneficiaries of the program.
On Monday, free bicycles will be distributed simultaneously to selected beneficiaries in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and Bicol region, Trayvilla said.
“The distribution will be done by batches so that physical distancing can be observed,” she said.
At the DOLE Central Office in Manila, Trayvilla said more than 200 bicycles will be distributed to informal workers from Monday to Wednesday in line with the project’s launching.
Local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila will be joining the project.
The DOLE hopes to distribute additional bicycles to selected beneficiaries in Cebu and other regions by December, Trayvilla said. – Mayen Jaymalin