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Local gov’ts have final say on letting minors in malls

LOCAL governments must first pass an ordinance containing guidelines before minors will be allowed to go to shopping malls, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday.

The national government has given the go signal for a gradual expansion of the age group allowed to leave their homes in the spirit of the Christmas season and help boost the economy battered by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In Metro Manila, Mr. Año said the capital region’s 17 mayors must come up with a unified decision on whether to allow minors in malls.

“For the National Capital Region, they will come up with a uniform implementation through a resolution to be backed up with ordinances,” he said in a Viber message to The Star.

If approved by the mayors, those below 15 years old can go malling with their parents or guardians.

Mr. Año also reiterated that parties and caroling are still not allowed, while Christmas celebrations should be limited to immediate family members and still with the observance of minimum health standards.

Researchers have warned of a potential “holiday surge” in COVID-19 cases, which would warrant a return to a stricter lockdown at the start of the new year.

“There is a strong possibility given the opening of the economy and the deterioration of the public’s discipline in following the health standards but it does not mean this will lead to a surge… it’s okay for cases to go up slowly and it’s inevitable. But the surge is not automatic, but the surge will be automatic if we do not follow health standards,” OCTA Research Group Researcher Ranjit Singh Rye, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino, said during a briefing on Tuesday. — Gillian M. Cortez and Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR

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