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Don’t let the Kids Out

Lately, various sectors were torn between letting kids out and keeping them from infection without doubt. I couldn’t believe the passion that DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez brings in his advocacy to allow 10 to 17 year olds out of the community quarantine. He claims that many small scale businesses depend on families as clients; and such permission would help these industries survive. The Trade and Industry Secretary insists that the prospect effect is not for intermediate grade schoolers and teens to be running around along the streets to the malls, but for families with children on these ages to be together to avail of services of these small scale business establishments. What businesses could need families as clients? Restaurants with families as their market? Recreation centers like World of Fun? Resorts? Amusement parks? Wait, are these small scale? Maybe I’m an industry imbecile, but what small scale business needs the whole family with kids as their clients?

I believe we understand where Sec. Lopez is coming from, and by the way, a local mayor has concurred in his stand. At the onset of the pandemic, a friend of mine with a modest food business had relieved his staff of their duties, and with his wife, had taken his hands on actual purchase of ingredients, preparation and sale of products, all by themselves. Now, what I forgot to ask is how he manages that routine with the two branches. Oh, maybe he closed one of the two. I used to frequent a printing shop to have documents printed. It closed on the lockdown in the middle of March last year, along with other businesses. It has not opened since. After 5 in the afternoon, I would go downtown to buy some office supplies or cellphone load. But the shops which I used to go to would close rather earlier than before. Just this week, I went to a kinalasan at around the same time; and I was told that they would be closing, so I had to postpone my kinalas craving. In pre-Covid-19 times, they would be packed until early evening. Wait, would not a log-log or kinalas eatery qualify as a small scale business? I don’t think a big chunk of their clientele includes families with kids 10 to 17 all together in one table.

Even though, everyday life has come to some level of normalcy, that to some extent, it’s just like the old days, just with face masks and shields, and limited passengers on tricycles, the public are still enjoined to limit going out of the house to essential activities to decrease risk of infection. (Yes, in case you forgot, we’re only supposed to go out for essentials which may include work, purchase of needs and whatever that may fall within your personal definition of “essential”.) With that in mind, what essential activity does a whole family with children of 10 to 17 years old, badly need to accomplish all together in a small scale business? You don’t need the bring kids to work. You don’t need kids to shop for groceries. You don’t need kids for a medical check-up. Well, if the child is sick, it would be necessary that the child comes along. But in that situation, the family does not need to come all together. Are pediatric clinics and hospitals considered small scale businesses? A family time to go out and eat, or have some sort of excursion is not in any way, by any stretch of logical reasoning, may be considered “essential”. In the current situation, families with pre-18 children may have food delivered at home, play games at home, watch movies at home, or build an improvised swimming pool, all within the safety of the domicile.

A few months ago, some advocates of letting the kids out have built their argument on the psychosocial aspects of children’s well-being. Well, I say, psychosocial deterioration is a questionable possibility, but physical infection is a high probability. So, better to have a not so happy child who misses playing in the mall arcade, than an Covid infected child who may not have the chance at any form of happiness in the future, and would be causing grief to the family and community.

If we really want to help the businesses and the children to experience some fresh air inside the malls, we have to band together to make the vaccination work, or if we could do something to eliminate the virus without the vaccine. Okay, that’s wishful thinking. The vaccine is the only plausible solution. If we could make the roll outs work efficiently and effectively, we would be hitting multiple birds with one form of shots. But for now, don’t let the kids out.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones”

Matthew 18:10

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