Palace: Mayors can ban minors in malls

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila mayors have the authority to ban minors in shopping malls as a precaution against COVID-19, Malacañang said yesterday after some government officials expressed opposing views on relaxing the age-based movement restrictions.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said mayors can decide what age group can be allowed outdoors.

During a meeting of the government’s pandemic task force on Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said minors could be allowed to enter malls provided they are accompanied by their parents.

Año said the easing of the restrictions should be contained in local ordinances.

Metro Manila mayors, however, unanimously voted against allowing minors in malls amid the possible surge in COVID-19 infections.

The health department was also opposed to easing restrictions because of the possibility of children catching the virus.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority general manager Jojo Garcia said the mayors listened to the recommendation of the Philippine Pediatric Society that minors should remain banned in malls.

The allowable age bracket of 18 to 65 remains in effect in Metro Manila to prevent COVID-19 cases from spiking after the holidays, according to Garcia.

Those aged 15 to 65 are allowed outdoors in the rest of the country.

Minors may only be allowed outside on essential travel such as medical and dental appointments, Garcia said.

Meanwhile, Año ordered heightened police visibility in malls, bazaars and other public places.

On Wednesday, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) deployed around 10,000 police officers to protect shoppers and remind them to observe health protocols.

NCRPO acting chief Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. ordered police districts in Metro Manila to prohibit children and senior citizens in malls. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Romina Cabrera, Ghio Ong, Ralph Edwin Villanueva

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