Strict enforcement of health protocols key for Cebu malls’ optimism
CEBU CITY, Philippines — As long as minimum health standards are in place, and health protocols are being observed, malls in Cebu are optimistic that the industry’s road to recovery will not be a tedious one.
“We like to remain optimistic and this is why we’re very strict in minimum health standards. We don’t want everyone to forget that we have health protocols to follow,” said Marissa N. Fernan, vice president of SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPH).
Except for stores selling and distributing essential goods, malls nationwide have been severely affected by months-long lockdowns due to threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In Cebu, non-essential establishments were only allowed to reopen last August when it shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ).
When the city was further downgraded to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed form of community quarantine, more business resumed operations.
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And as Cebu celebrates the Holiday season with quarantine restrictions eased, malls such as SM Seaside City Cebu have ramped up their efforts in lifting the public’s spirits.
Last November 7, SM Seaside City Cebu officially lit their 45-foot Christmas Tree to mark the start of the Holidays and the ceremonial launching of their Christmas Mornings in the Orient.
“What we’ve done in malls is to lift the spirits of the community… And mornings, they signify awakening to a new day and we’re looking forward to new things that are going to happen,” said Fernan.
“During these times, you don’t know really what to expect every day. But during the Christmas season, we know that there is sharing of love joy — maybe we will not be able to give as much gift this year — but the spirit remains,” she added.
Aside from implementing and enforcing minimum health standards, Fernan also said promoting and patronizing local businesses will help the retail and mall industry get a kickstart in their recovery.
“It’s not easy but if we work together, we can definitely rise again,” Fernan said. /dbs
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