Metro Manila mayors are thinking of imposing age restrictions for minors who go to the malls. A belated action, one that should have been done two weeks ago, but this shows the importance of an evolving policy.
With the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation turning fluid and pandemic restrictions changing, there is a need for the kind of policy that evolves to protect the public from Covid-19 under new situations.
The move of the mayors is also, in a way, an admission of their failure to set up precautions before allowing the children to go out.
It was shocking to see children inside malls, running around and eating in restaurants. While many of them have masks, some remove them or are unable to keep them on, while others like the newborn are too young to have their nose and mouth covered.
The sight of them inside malls since two weeks ago should have prodded policymakers at the local level, yes the mayors, to adapt and come up with new restrictions.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said Friday, November 12, 2021, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the mayors may call for such age restrictions. He did not provide details but he said they are considering it because, while the number of Covid-19 cases are going down, the pandemic is not over. It is within the authority of the local government units to put restrictions as the situation may call for it, he said.
The mayors’ move came in response to a report of a doctor who had said a toddler tested positive in a rapid antigen test days after going to a mall.
Año said, “That’s why we are still reminding everyone to follow the public health protocols and for the parents who bring their kids to the malls to be careful and to do so only if it is necessary.”
This is a concern not only for Metro Manila but for all urban areas in cities and towns throughout the country. Cebu, for one, will need such a restriction.
In Cebu, a message shared on social media about three children getting Covid-19 after a visit to a particular mall caused some alarm. The mall denied the information and said it has not received any official report or request for contact tracing from the local Health department or the City Government. Contact tracing is usually the next step to check on close contacts of someone who tested positive for the Sars-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19.
Although the message about the three children was denied, the spreading of the message caused some alarm. But, perhaps, it wasn’t a bad thing because it made some parents think twice about bringing their children to the malls.
A policy adjustment, reminders that Covid-19 is still around, and possibly some scare tactics are what are needed to adapt to the changing pandemic situation.