The Department of Health has reminded Christmas shoppers to avoid crowded places due to the persisting threat of COVID-19. With the virus still looming, should people risk Christmas shopping?
It's an individual decision, said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, former president of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines.
"If you feel that it is critical for you to engage in that kind of activity because it’s very vital, that’s really your call," Ong-Lim told reportr. "Kaya mo ba harapin ang sarili mo at sabihin na nahawa ka dahil nag-Christmas shopping ka?"
People who push through with their Christmas shopping plans instead of just doing it online should not be judged, Dr. Ong-Lim said as she noted that people have different ways of defining what is an essential activity for them.
"Are you comfortable that in case you become positive [for COVID-19] that the activity that brought that result was actually shopping? That’s a very individual question," she said.
For those who are planning to do some Christmas shopping, here are some precautions:
1. Observe minimum health standards
Shoppers should wear face masks and face shields, observing physical distancing, and practicing proper hand hygiene
2. Pick a lull time to shop
It's best pick a time when there are fewer people shopping, according to Ong-Lim. "Pipili ka ng oras na hindi maraming tao, hindi ka siguro pupunta ng weekend," she said.
3. Know the situation in the area where you plan to shop
Before heading out, assess the situation in the area where you plan to do your Christmas shopping.
“Mas maganda kung open air or kung mall man 'yan, alam mo na maganda ang ventilation," Ong-Lim said.
While most virus restrictions have been largely eased in the country, shopping centers and malls are still prohibited from operating at full capacity.