To help revitalize the economy and provide a safe environment during the Christmas season amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Quezon City government now allows the holding of mall sales and operations of restaurants, but preferably in open-air spaces or naturally ventilated indoor venues.

Mayor Joy Belmonte issued the latest general community quarantine (GCQ) guidelines to reflect the expanded scope of allowable economic activity under the Department of Trade and Industry’s Memorandum Circular No. 20-57 s. 2020.

“With our active COVID-19 cases now on a downward trend, we are now pushing various activities during the holidays that will open and jumpstart the economy and give livelihood to our citizens,” said Belmonte.

“However, we encourage them to hold these activities in open-air spaces or naturally ventilated indoor areas to help prevent the virus from spreading. This way, we will be having a safe and meaningful Christmas celebration,” she added.

Under the latest GCQ guidelines, mall sales, bazaars, tiangges and similar activities are now allowed, subject to minimum health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

The organizer of these events is also required to log all attendees for contact tracing purposes and is strongly encouraged to use a digital contact tracing method such as SafePass.

Based on studies, open-air or well-ventilated indoor spaces decrease the chances of being infected with the COVID-19.

The revised guidelines also states that malls have to enforce a capacity limitation that allows physical distancing of at least one meter among all customers.

The capacity limitation will be subjected for review and modification by the Business Permits and Licensing Department and Market Development and Administration Department.

Malls must also set up queuing areas with thermal scanning of guests or customers and provide an adequate number of marshals who will enforce physical distancing.

The city’s Law and Order Cluster, regulatory departments, Barangays, and the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) are tasked to ensure that the latest guidelines are strictly enforced.

As of November 4, the city reported that 94 percent or 21,377 patients have recovered from COVID-19, further dropping its active cases to just 756.