“The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed children 5 years old and above to go outdoors in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ), except for places under “heightened restrictions,” Malacañang announced on July 9.
They are allowed to visit parks, playgrounds, beaches, biking and hiking trails, outdoor tourist sites, outdoor non-contact sports courts and venues, and al fresco dining with their parents or guardians. However, they are still prohibited from entering mixed-use indoor and outdoor buildings and facilities such as malls. (Read: 3 Ways to Teach Your Kids How to Eat ‘Zero Waste’)
According to the IATF, children are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing at all times. The local governments have the discretion to increase the age restriction depending on the COVID-19 situation in their area.
In an interview with The Philippine Star, Malabon Mayor Antolin Oreta III said that mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR) agreed on a uniform policy of allowing children aged five and above to go outside as long as they are under parental supervision. The council will come up with a resolution to clarify the guidelines as per Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco.
The quarantine impacted the mental health and well-being of the children and minors who are stuck in their homes for more than a year. Allowing them to go out in specific areas might be good news, but it is still important to strictly follow the implemented health guidelines because the virus is still out there, and children are the most vulnerable to it.
Since there are no clear guidelines on the recent announcement of the IATF yet, parents who will accompany their children, especially the younger ones, must know the essentials they must prepare or always bring when going out during the pandemic. (Read: A Year Into Quarantine: 6 Filipinos Share Their Best Realizations)
Extra face masks, shirt, and towel
Children will probably get hyper once they finally go out after staying at home for a long time. Expect that they will sweat too much from playing or roaming around in public areas. Their face mask or shirt might get dirty while playing, so it would be best if you have an extra face mask, shirt, and towel.
First aid kit
It doesn’t necessarily need to be a hundred percent complete. A basic first aid kit that includes bandages or band-aids, gauze, cotton, Betadine, scissors, tweezers, and other items that might be helpful in case they get injured will do. Children might stumble or bump into somewhere while playing outside. Being prepared and knowing how to clean their wounds in case they get injured is enough, instead of bringing them to the hospital right away—unless it is a serious injury. Don’t forget to bring their medicines or vitamins as well, if there are any.
Snacks and reusable utensils
Not all parks, playgrounds, and public venues have dining areas or nearby fast food and restaurants. There is still a high risk of contracting the virus from using utensils from fast food and restaurants. It is safer to bring your own utensils, reusable cups, and containers, including snacks when going out. Spend the bonding moment with your kids without worrying about what they eat. It would be a relief for every parent to know that their children are using clean utensils and eating food from their own household.