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MMDA: Minors still not allowed outdoors

THE Metro Manila Council, the policy making body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), decided on Thursday not to allow individuals aged 17 below to go to the malls.

In a virtual press conference, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said the Metro mayors unanimously agreed to prohibit minor ‘mallers’ after the recommendation of Philippine Pediatrics Society and Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines to disallow their entry to commercial establishments and other outdoor areas such as shopping malls.

Because of having a high immune system, pediatrics experts said that minors who are infected wth COVID-19 are usually asymptomatic carriers of the virus. They might be transmitting the virus unknowingly, especially to those vulnerable,” said Garcia.

Persons aged 18-65 years old are the only ones allowed to go inside malls in Metro Manila,” he added.

However, Garcia said essential activities done inside the malls such as medical and dental check-ups, buying of food, and medicines are allowed for all ages, including minors and senior citizens – as long as the minimum health protocols such as wearing of face mask and face shield and observing of physical distancing are strictly observed.

Minors are also allowed to do non-contact sports such as biking and jogging, subject to interpretation of local government units (LGUs) through their respective existing ordinances.

Garcia also thanked Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año for supporting the decision of Metro Manila mayors, since the enforcement lies with the local government unit.

Further, Garcia reminded the mall owners and the LGUs of their responsibility to ensure that no minor will be allowed to go inside their establishments and other outdoor areas. Penalties also depend on the LGUs.