Metro malls brace for ‘new normal’

NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Debold M. Sinas, has begun discussing with mall security officers in Metro Manila their new security strategies in anticipation of the ‘new normal’ to be triggered by the General Community Quarantine in some parts of Luzon including the metropolis.

Knowing that Filipinos are expected to shop again once quarantine measures are relaxed, the NCRPO chief on Monday held a dialogue in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City with security officers of SM Malls, Ayala Malls, Shangri-la, Landmark, Rockwell and other shopping establishments in Metro Manila amid the expected declaration of GQC.

“We are talking to establish a strategy on how to better address and manage the peculiar challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to the traditional mall security approach,” Sinas said.

The NCRPO director said that during their initial talk, the mall security officers agreed with their proposal to fully implement social distancing protocols and the wearing of face masks inside shopping malls once they are allowed to open.

In particular, the NCRPO recommended the implementation of social distancing protocols inside mall common areas.

Sinas said that the proposed distance guide per person is based on “a 1 person per 2 sqm floor area.”  With that in mind, mall  security officers shall compute the maximum persons to be allowed entry based on the aforementioned formula.

The NCRPO also recommended that mall entrance and exits shall be limited and fully controlled by security guards while police will strengthen their presence in these establishments by establishing PNP Desks outside the mall.

Sinas said they also agreed on the need to modify human traffic in mall entrances and exits.  As approved during their talk, all  mall alleys, hallways, pathwalks and other medium of convergence shall observe the 'keep-right’ and one-way scheme.’

Lastly, people waiting in stores, boutiques, and shops of all other forms will be strictly prohibited. However, under exceptional circumstances, the store owners may opt to provide seats for waiting customers in order to fully observe social distancing.

Sinas said those strategies were considered in addition to the guidelines to be issued by the National Government upon the implementation of the GCQ in Metro Manila.

"We had this dialogue primarily to encourage concerted movement of all law enforcement agencies and units especially those in charge of areas frequented by our people like the malls,” he said.

“This is only an initial dialogue and several others will follow amid the anticipated announcement of the implementation of the GCQ by the National Government. Rest assured that the NCRPO will do its task of securing the metropolis in partnership with our indispensable counterparts such as the mall security officers to ensure public safety despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19,” said the NCRPO director.