Do It Outside, Where It's Safer to Eat, Exercise (Good For the Mind, Too)

'Pedestrianization' is the goal.
Scores of cars are parked for a movie showing at SM Mall of Asia concert grounds.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

Authorities must encourage physical activity and dining outdoors to slowly restart the economy while the coronavirus still lurks, a doctor from a frontliners' coalition said Monday. It's good for business and for mental health.

As long as people wash their hands, wear face protection and maintain a safe distance, the chances of spreading the virus is lesser outdoors compared to indoors, think airconditioned trains, buses and shopping malls, said Dr. Lei Camiling-Alfonso from the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19.

Defined and well-maintained pathwalks and spaces for exercise will encourage people to go outdoors. This "pedestrianization" is being planned in a part of Quezon City and other local governments can learn from its experience, Alfonso said.

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"Naiimagine ko, yung mga anak ninyo, buryot na buryot na sa bahay (I could imagine how your kids could be so bored at home)," he said. "Ligtas po ito at open ang space (It's safe as long as it's open space)" and minimum health standards are observed, she said.

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"Ang pagsuot ng mask sa well-ventilated space, nakakabawas ng pagkahawa (Wearing of masks in a well-ventilated space reduces the risk of infection)," she said.

Other countries have proven that reopening outdoor public spaces for exercise and business do not spike COVID-19 infections, she said.

Most of the Philippines is under the two lowest quarantine classifications -- GCQ and MGCQ, meaning restaurants, cafes and gyms can reopen, subject to local government rules.

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