Minors, those 17 years old and below, are now allowed inside malls in the national capital of Metro Manila, where 13.5 million of the country’s 110 million population live after the metropolis shifted to Alert Level 2.
The region, which shifted to Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 3 on Nov. 5, remains under “low risk” classification for virus cases, said the Department of Health, which reported nearly 2,000 new cases of coronavirus infections and 142 deaths, two days in the run up to the weekend.
While the bulletin board is being watched keenly daily, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Metro Manila could ease to the lowest alert level if virus infections continue to decline, apparently underlining what the OCTA Research group has said that the risk is “quite low” for another COVID-19 surge.
OCTA has said if the hospital beds are getting to be threatened, then it would alert the public, but the present level does not raise that much concern.
Earlier on, the Philippine College of Physicians warned the government against easing quarantine restrictions too quickly as transport officials sought to increase passenger capacity of public utility vehicles ahead of the holidays.
With the shift to Alert Level 2, Metro Manila has allowed more businesses to reopen with up to 50 percent indoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and 70 percent for outdoor dining.
With the eased restrictions, children are now permitted inside malls in Metro Manila, although authorities may still provide additional guidelines such as, among others, requiring parents or guardians to accompany minors in malls.
But do we have the space and reasonable time to check if these children are with their parents or with their guardians, as the surge of shoppers overwhelm the malls only weeks before the start of the Christmas season in this country which was denied such mobility last year because of the coronavirus threat?
Minors may also dine al fresco and inside restaurants, provided that establishments follow the venue capacity prescribed by the government under Alert Level 2.
But Metro minors and their parents, you must be careful. Regrets don’t touch COVID-19.