After Vico Sotto ordered temporary closure of supermarket, public reminded of health protocols anew

July 22, 2020 - 1:55 PM
Vico Sotto and Landers
Undated photo of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto speaking in front of a podium during a vaccination program by Boy Santos of The STAR (left) and grocery operations of Landers supermarket under temporary closure from Vico Sotto's official Facebook page (right).

Pasig City has temporarily suspended the grocery operations of Landers Superstore for failing to implement minimum health safety standards among shoppers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto informed the public that the supermarket in Barangay Ugong will not operate from July 21 to July 27 for failing to properly observe physical distancing among its shoppers.

However, the city chief added that other areas of the store such as the “restaurant, barbershop, plant shop, pharmacy, and parking lot” may continue to operate for business.

The temporary closure came after members of Pasig’s City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Monitoring Team conducted an undercover inspection for three consecutive days to see if the grocery store was complying with the health protocols.

Sotto shared some pictures taken by his team which included shoppers crowding in grocery aisles despite the protocol to stay at least one meter apart in public areas.

However, Health Undersecretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said that people should now stay at least two meters apart from each other in consideration of the virus’ aerosol transmission in confined indoor settings, specifically in air-conditioned areas.

While some shoppers were seen wearing the requisite face masks in the pictures, most of them didn’t comply with the protocol to keep at least a one-meter distance, which is nearly equivalent to a motorcycle’s length.

Sotto bared that he has no intention of giving the supermarket “bad publicity” but added that it is for the safety of the customers in an ongoing pandemic.

He also mentioned that the management has expressed the willingness to comply and strictly implement the health protocols in place.

“Ang maganda nag-express naman sila ng kagustuhan sumunod at magpatupad ng mas maayos na health protocols. Rekomendasyon namin sa kanila na mag-one way scheme at maglagay ng bantay sa bawat aisle,” Sotto said in the comments section.

Landers Ugong is TEMPORARILY CLOSED/SUSPENDED for failure to properly implement minimum health safety standards…

Posted by Vico Sotto on Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Always be mindful 

The online community also shared their own recommendations following Sotto’s post. Some of them urged the public to remain conscious of following the health protocols while others called for more stringent implementation from store management.

“I always see to it that I am observing social distancing, avoiding crowded aisles,” a Facebook user wrote.

“But also to be fair, the shoppers should also have common sense to maintain physical distancing. Even if you have the signs everywhere but the people won’t read or practice it, then maybe we should just stay at home,” wrote another online user.

A Filipino blamed the incident on shoppers who he claimed has tendencies to bring their respective family members in grocery runs, including minors. They are currently not allowed to go out under general community quarantine rules.

“Sana naman makisama at sumunod ang lahat. Naiinis pag pinasara ang mga establishments/stores pero di naman sumusunod sa pinapatupad na batas,” commented another Filipino.

Meanwhile, there were others who claimed that employees of the superstore themselves do not stringently practice health protocols.

“Agree! Went there once (last May) and they were not practicing safety protocols. In-house staff doing online orders not wearing masks! Too many people inside,” a Facebook user wrote in response to Sotto’s post.

“Not only do they fail to enforce social distancing among the customers, but most of their employees do not seem to have any public health safety concepts with the way they conduct their roles in the store. I’ve seen some of them just strolling thru the aisles, sometimes in groups, with no bother to distance at all,” another Filipino claimed.

An online user recommended that the management should have “roving marshalls” inside the supermarket to constantly remind the public about following the health protocols.

DTI guidelines

Based on the memorandum issued by the Department of Trade and Industry to shopping centers under GCQ, the management should be able to strictly monitor foot traffic and enforce safe distancing inside the premises.

This includes “limiting the number of people inside the mall or shopping center or inside an individual store, at any given time to a density of not more than one (1) person per two (2) square meters.”

“Entry of people shall be limited to the computed carrying capacity of the establishment. Carrying capacity is equal to the total square meters of vacant walkable space divided by two (2); thus a 200 square meter vacant space can accommodate 100 people at any time,” the advisory said.

The DTI also mandates “assigning personnel to regulate foot traffic in high-density areas” and creating a “one-way flow,” if possible, to decongest queues and facilitate movement among individuals.

Shopping centers may likewise reduce the number of its door entrances to properly manage the foot traffic inside the premise.