‘New malling normal likely in two years’

Filipinos may have to get used to safety protocols such as wearing of masks and practicing social distancing that form part of the new shopping normal for the next two years, the Department of Trade and Industry said Sunday.

“Malls are encouraged to continue these strict protocols. We cannot afford to be lax. Probably in the next year two years, this should still be our practice,” Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said during a virtual forum hosted by the Department of Health.

“Whatever protocols are implemented now should be the same, even in December, even in the next year, even probably the years after,” she added.

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Under DTI Memorandum Circular 20-21, malls, shopping centers, and establishments under general community quarantine are required to strictly monitor foot traffic and enforce safe distancing among customers.

Free Wi-Fi will not be offered and sale events, marketing events, and other promotional activities requiring physical contact will remain suspended so as not to encourage crowds.

Elevators will only be reserved for senior citizens, pregnant women, and persons with disability.

New City Commercial Corporation President Lafayette Lim said they are in the process of acquiring disinfection chambers for their malls.

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“We just have to continue dealing with the distancing. As long as there is no cure or vaccine, this will be the new normal in our operations,” Lim said.

“Regardless of category, there will be no close contact. For make-up products, for example, there will be digital sampling to simulate what the make-up will look like,” added SM Supermalls Vice President for Business Development Gino Borromeo.

For his part, housing czar Eduardo del Rosario has ordered all its regional directors to closely monitor the resumption of activities in the real-estate industry to ensure strict compliance of health and safety protocols as stalled construction works resume.

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He issued the directive during separate meetings with top officials of the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers Association of the Philippines (OSHDAP) and Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) via video conferences.

IATF Resolution No. 34 has allowed the resumption of “priority public and private construction and infrastructure projects,” including the housing sector, in areas under enhanced community quarantine.

“The protocols should be applied regardless of the classification of risks, whether low or high, to ensure the protection of our workers and keep construction sites COVID-free. Non-compliance shall warrant the imposition of a cease-and-desist order against the covered entities,” Del Rosario said.

Topics: Department of Trade and Industry , social distancing , shopping normal
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