Since Metro Manila was put under Alert Level Number Two earlier this month, a lot of families have taken the opportunity to spend time at the mall with their young kids. Unfortunately, most minors have not been vaccinated yet, which puts them at risk of contracting the virus.
That’s why in his pre-recorded Talk to the People episode, which aired last November 15, President Rodrigo Duterte urged local government units (LGU) to pass an ordinance barring unvaccinated minors inside malls and public places to stem a feared resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
“I am calling on all local government units to consider passing ordinances for age restrictions among minors who can be allowed to go to the malls,” the country’s president said.
“Certainly, they cannot allow those below 12 years old and those who are still unvaccinated to be exposed to the risks of COVID-19 in public places,” he added. “To the parents and guardians of minors who are unvaccinated, please be mindful of the risk. I hope no one among our children will get COVID-19.”
To put things into perspective, according to the Alert Level 2 protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), minors are allowed inside malls provided that they are accompanied by a vaccinated adult. Under Alert Level 2, only 50% indoor capacity is allowed, and an additional 10% if the establishment has a safety seal.
In turn, the Department of Health (DOH) echoed the president’s sentiments, urging parents not to bring their children to crowded places like malls as they still don’t have protection against COVID-19. The DOH also noted that children below five years old are not required to wear face masks, which makes them more vulnerable in crowded areas.
Given that these kids have been cooped up at home since the start of the pandemic, it’s understandable why they’re excited to be out and about. At the same time, the safety of the young ones should be prioritized.