Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine was applied to Metro Manila from May 16. Taguig City, which has administrative authority over Fort Bonifacio, declared many implementation rules, governing activities from outdoor exercise to working environment. Malls remain closed until May 18 giving the City Hall time to work out the measures with mall owners to ensure that the control of the spread of COVID-19 is maintained as far as possible.

On the first few days of MECQ, we took a look at some of the malls. All of them have adopted one-way system in hallways to reduce the mingling of shoppers. Quarantine passes are checked upon entry.

Bonifacio High Street

About one-third of the shops are open. Apart from the restaurants which were already open during ECQ, some retail shops have opened, including the largest book store, Fully Booked, and a few shops that sell clothing, such as Bench.

SM Aura

If you go to SM Aura by car, QP will be checked upon carpark entrance. Parking tickets are reinstalled and you have to push the button and pick up a card dispensed by the machine. Unlike before, then, you should bring your sanitizer or disinfecting wipe after pushing the button and holding the card.

About one-fourth of the shops are open. Apart from the supermarket and pharmacy at basement which were already opened during ECQ, at basement the hardware store, ACE hardware is open, with people waiting in line to get in.

Book store, optician shop, and more restaurants are now open. On the higher floors, a few shops that sell cell phones and a large boutique (Uniqlo) are open, as well as the SM Department Store. None was crowded at the time of our visit.

Serendra Piazza

About a third of the restaurants on ground floor are open for take out and delivery. Second floor is not open.

Central Square

Surprisingly, nearly half of the shops in this high end mall are open, including a toy shop, furniture store, a lugguge shop and many clothing stores.

One Bonifacio High Street mall

Only a handful of shops are open. At the ground floor, a major fashion apparel store is open, as well as a restaurant and a specialty coffee shop.

On the third floor, an electronic gadget shop, a milk tea shop and about four restaurants are open.

8 Forbestown Road

The only shop opens at 8 Forbestown mall, apart from the supermarket and a specialty coffee shop at ground floor, is the hardware store at second floor.

Shoppers stayed away

When the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine details were announced, there were worries that people would come out in droves and crowd the malls, making it hard to control the spread of COVID-19.

Fortunately, this has not happened so far. Most malls are still very empty. It is still the norm to walk around the streets of BGC without passing anyone within 6 feet. This is a mixed blessing. On one hand, the spread of the virus is limited, on the other hand, there does not appear to be sufficient businesses to make it financially viable for many shops. We have to wait and see what comes next.

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