With Metro Manila under a more lax Alert Level 2 and the number of COVID-19 cases declining, more establishments are reopening their doors to the public. More people are also going out to catch up on activities they've missed—like splurging in malls.
'Revenge spending is here'
During the first weekend of more relaxed restrictions, people grabbed the opportunity to drop by malls to shop and dine after over a year of staying indoors.
It looks like Filipinos are opening their wallets to things they weren't able to amid the lockdown as evidenced by the 7.1% gross domestic product growth in the third quarter of 2021—with wholesale and retail as one of the top contributors.
People are satisfying their urge to splurge by spending on travel, meals out, gatherings, gadgets, clothes, bags, and more.
Financial analysts call this phenomenon "revenge spending," which CNBC defines as "shelling out on experiences they've been missing to make up for lost time."
"Revenge spending is here," a Twitter user wrote as she posted photos of long lines of shoppers looking to make purchases at Hermes and Power Mac Center.
Revenge spending is here pic.twitter.com/tbEU86XT1z— Claire Jiao (@ClaireJiao) November 7, 2021
Interestingly, people didn't only flock to premium stores, they also queued at fast-food chains and even convenience stores. Additionally, families came in droves to arcades since kids were finally allowed in malls.
True.. was in southmall and dami mga families w their kids. Yung jollibee may waiting line pa nga sa labas for dine in.. pic.twitter.com/ScenXrQvBt— AstraZeneca? (@MeteorCrissy) November 7, 2021
Hindi ito tama. pic.twitter.com/ZSHdxYFpQe— Winlove Mojica, MD (@theskinsensei) November 7, 2021
While there is a decline in COVID-19 cases, the threat of the virus still looms. The weekend crowding at malls stirred concerns in some Filipinos, who worry that we could see a surge in infections if we become complacent.
"Posibilidad po na magkaroon uli tayo ng surge ng COVID. Sana ay hindi mangyaro. Ngayon kasi, excited lahat ng tao na pumunta sa mga lugar na ganyan (shopping malls)," Dr. Esperanza Cabral told Teleradyo on Nov. 12.
Before you go out...
Some of these malling experiences, however, can be done in the safety of your homes. You can get food delivered from fast-food chains as well as restaurants and you can do your shopping online.
But if going to malls is something you really want to do, think of these considerations first before heading out.
- Are you fully vaccinated? Some establishments like restaurants, cinemas, and salons only allow people who are fully vaccinated.
- Is there anyone immunocompromised in your household? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention warns that people with weaker immune systems and pre-existing conditions may not be protected even if they are fully vaccinated.
- Are you willing to sit through traffic? Congestion in the metro is starting to look like pre-pandemic traffic. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority monitored 399,000 vehicles going in and out of the metro—close to the 405,000 number before the pandemic.
- Do you really need to go to the mall? Is your purpose for going out more of a want or a need? If you aren't fully vaxxed and you have someone immunocompromised at home, consider avoiding activities that could put you and your family at risk.
- Can you buy it online? If it's available on online shopping apps, why not just get it there? It will save you a trip, too. But if it's something that you must inspect first in person, visit the store while taking all safety precautions.
Here's something to think about, too, if you're on the fence about dining in.