VARIOUS malls have announced that only essential shops will be operating as Metro Manila and its neighbouring provinces are placed under strict lockdown.

The government on Saturday announced that Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal will be under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest form of lockdown, from March 29 to April 4.

Under this lockdown, medical goods and services, agriculture, and delivery services may operate at full capacity, while essential goods companies, the media, and Department of Transportation-accredited work can operate at 50%.

Pharmacies, banks, telecommunications, real estate, energy, airlines, outsourcing, export, and machinery repair firms can operate with a skeleton crew.

Shopping center operators like Ayala Malls said that only supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, and restaurants with take out and delivery services will be operating as they comply with government requirements.

Vista Mall, Robinsons Malls, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, and SM Supermalls added that convenience stores, hardware stores, and other essential shops will continue to run.

SM and Ayala Malls offered free parking for customers during the period.

“Please also be guided that only our restaurants at the mall perimeter areas will be open for delivery and takeout services,” Ayala Malls added.

Some malls included their store hours, with Vista Mall, SM Malls and Robinsons Malls saying that they will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Robinsons said its supermarkets will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., while Vista Mall said its supermarkets and AllHome stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, partners, and patrons remain by adhering to the prescribed precautionary measures set by the Department of Health and LGUs (local government units),” Vista Mall said. — Jenina P. Ibañez