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More establishments closed

More establishments, including those in malls, have been ordered closed by the city government.

On Thursday, Mayor Sara Duterte issued two executive orders closing business establishments in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In Executive Order No. 15, Duterte closed all internet shops, gaming stations, billiard halls, videokes, basketball courts, badminton courts, bowling alleys, movie houses, bingo outlets, e-gaming establishments, lotto outlets, kid’s playrooms, video arcades, spas, massage parlors, beauty salons/parlors and carnivals or peryahan beginning 5 p.m. Thursday, March 19, 2020 “until the State of Public Health Emergency is lifted.”

In Executive Order No. 16, shops inside malls and mixed-use establishments are ordered to temporarily close down except for its supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, inhouse department stores, medical laboratories, and dentists’ offices “until the State of Public Health Emergency is lifted.”

The orders were issued to control the activities of people who still go out for non-essential activities despite the lockdown order.

Moreover, the orders also aim to minimize the risk of getting infected by COVID-19 as the country already has 217 cases and 17 fatalities.

On the affected workers and tenants, some malls in the city have released a statement on its actions towards them.

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. said they are currently developing alternative or flexible work schemes through the use of technology. They are also finding other ways to collaborate without compromising the health of their employees.

For their business partners, the company is currently discussing the trends and impacts of COVID-19 so that they can formulate a “win-win solution.” Business continuity management systems are in place for immediate implementation, if needed.

Moreover, logistics and deliveries are limited to designated areas in SM Prime establishments.

The Ayala Group has adopted a COVID-19 emergency response package worth P2.4 billion consisting of wages, bonuses, leave conversions, and loan deferments for the extended workforce of its partner employers so they may continue to be paid for the duration of the quarantine period.

The emergency response package includes P600 million in salary continuance for displaced workers from construction sites, shuttered malls, and retail spaces of Makati Development Corporation and the Ayala Malls group.

They will also continue in providing salary continuance and financial support. Most of them may also get their mid-year bonuses, which is normally paid in April, starting yesterday through the end of March.

Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative employee loan payments may be postponed or delayed and there is also an introduced special financial assistance programs at subsidized rates.

Moreover, the Ayala Group would be providing a rent-free period to tenants on malls that are not allowed to operate during the community quarantine including the Abreeza Mall.

In New City Commercial Center (NCCC), all affected employees will be receiving their wages as per the usual schedule and closed tenants will be given one month free basic rent, according to PR manager Thea Septann Padua.

Other malls in the city have yet to release a statement regarding their response to the temporary closure and its actions towards their affected workers and tenants. (With Samantha Burgos)

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