Philippines: home improvement shops reopen

Home improvement stores on the largest island in the Philippines reopened over the weekend after the strict and economically devastating lockdown aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19 in the country ended on 16 May, and slightly less stringent stay-at-home orders took its place. Ace Hardware, operated by SM Investments Corp in the Philippines, Handyman, operated by Robinsons Retail Holdings, and home-grown companies AllHome and Wilcon Depot announced over the weekend that they have reopened their outlets. Some of them reopened all their branches, while others restarted operations in select locations. On the island of Luzon - home to half of the Philippines' 100 million people and host to the capital region of Metro Manila - a two-month enhanced community quarantine, during which work and classes were suspended, public transport was halted, borders were closed, and business establishments considered non-essential were told to shut down, is now loosening. The Philippine government has eased restrictions to transition into what is now called the modified enhanced community quarantine. The new regime will prevail until the end of May.