The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) releases today, 16 March 2020, Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-04, Series of 2020, prescribing the implementing guidelines for business operations following previously issued Resolution No. 12 by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The said MC covers all business establishments in the National Capital Region (NCR). It clearly states that all manufacturing, retail, and service establishments shall remain in operation amid the community quarantine being implemented in Metro Manila, subject to certain restrictions.

Mass gatherings by business establishments such as, but not limited to, general assemblies, large meetings or conferences, outdoor events that attract large crowds, and non-essential work-related gatherings shall be restricted.

Their respective personnel shall work on applicable flexible working arrangements pursuant to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Advisory No. 09, Series of 2020. These arrangements include telecommuting, work from home, reduction of workdays/hours, rotation of workers, and force leave, among others.

Mall operations, on the other hand, shall operate on limited capacity, only allowing operations of those business establishments or tenants that are offering basic goods and services such as groceries and supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, health clinics, bookstores, and hardware stores. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) offices inside malls are likewise allowed to operate.

However, for food stalls and restaurants inside shopping malls, only take-out and delivery services are permitted.

Businesses offering leisure and entertainment, gathering crowds confined in a specific area are strictly prohibited from operating during the effectivity of the General Community Quarantine in NCR. These establishments include places of amusement such as nigh clubs, bars, taverns, cocktail lounges, discotheques, beer parlors, and pubs.
Arts, entertainment, and recreational activities such as live performances, events or exhibits intended for public viewing, art galleries, concerts, and opera or dance production, operation of conert and theater halls, and other arts; and gambling facilities such as casinos, bingo halls, and video gaming terminals and the provision of gambling services such as lotteries and off-track betting are likewise prohibited from operating.

For all affected business establishments that will be closed for the duration of the 30-day General Community Quarantine in NCR, corresponding rental fees and charges shall be waived by the lessors and owners of business spaces.

Retail establishments, except those that are prohibited from operating and those functioning on limited capacity, and non-retail businesses such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and services companies will be allowed to operate provided that they strictly observe social distancing and implement sanitary measures, and that they duly inform and educate their employees/staff of these measures as mitigating efforts against the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Only one (1) person per square meter of unimpeded space will be allowed inside retail establishments, making the entry of people in these places limited.

Retail establishments are highly encouraged to utilize internet retail or online commerce to aggressively direct consumers to procure goods and services using these modes. Following this, only delivery platforms within NCR will be allowed to operate.

Owners of manufacturing, construction, and services companies are encouraged to provide temporary housing for their respective employees/staff who are residing outside of NCR to ensure their safety and ease of travel to and from their place of work.

Recognizing the massive global effect of COVID-19, all business establishments are strongly urged to prepare and implement an infectious disease preparedness and response plan to provide preemptive and protective actions against the virus and other similar diseases.

“We strongly appeal to the businesses and consuming public to strictly abide by the measures being imposed by the government to effectively mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Your utmost safety and protection is our primary concern. In this time of need, our solidarity and cooperation are extremely important,” said DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.♦

Date of Release: 16 March 2020