Starting April 12 until the end of the month, Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite --- collectively called the NCR Plus area--- will be placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
Apart from the NCR Plus bubble, the city of Santiago in Isabela, Quirino province, and Abra will be placed under the same community quarantine classification during the same period.
MECQ is the second strictest community quarantine classification in the country, followed by the enhanced community quarantine and next to general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.
While Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he would discuss the difference between ECQ and MECQ during his regular press briefing on Monday, the Inter-Agency Task Force's omnibus guidelines on the implementation of community quarantines with amendments, issued on April 3, 2021, provides the list of restrictions under an MECQ.
Who can go outside?
Strict home quarantines will be observed in all households.
Persons below 18 years old, over 65 years old, with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women will be required to stay home, except for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries, offices, or such other activities permitted.
What establishments are allowed to operate?
All establishments, persons, activities allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken during the ECQ will be allowed to operate at full on-site capacity.
Meanwhile, all establishments, persons, and activities not allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken during the ECQ will be allowed at 50% on-site capacity.
Establishments that are still not allowed to operate during the MECQ are:
- Entertainment venues with live performers, cinemas
- Recreational venues such as internet cafes, arcades, etc.
- Amusement parks
- Outdoor sports courts or venues for contact sports
- Indoor sports courts or venues, gyms, spas, swimming pools etc.
- Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except for the draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office
- Indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits
- Outdoor tourist attractions
- Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions
- Personal care services which includes beauty salons, beauty parlors, medical aesthetic clinics, etc. Homes service of these activities are also not allowed
- Indoor dine-in services
- Only hotels or accommodation establishments with valid accreditation from the Department of Tourism will be allowed to accept guests for legitimate purposes.
What public gatherings are allowed?
Gatherings outside of residences remain prohibited, as well as gatherings at residences with any person outside of one’s immediate household.
Gatherings essential in providing health services, government services, or humanitarian activities authorized by the appropriate government agency or instrumentality, however, will be allowed.
Religious gatherings will be allowed up to 10% of the venue capacity, as long as there is no objection from the local government unit where the religious gathering may take place. LGUs may increase the allowable venue capacity up to 30%. The religious denominations are mandated to strictly observe their submitted protocols and the minimum public health standards.
Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 will be allowed, but only limited to immediate family members.
Will public transportation be allowed to operate?
Road, rail, maritime, and aviation public transportation will be allowed to operate at such capacity and protocols allowed by the Department of Transportation. Biking and other forms of active transportation are encouraged.
Moreover, the movement of cargo/delivery vehicles, as well as vehicles used by public utility companies, will remain unhampered.
Are individual outdoor exercises allowed?
Yes. These include outdoor walks, jogging, running or biking but only within the general area of their residence like the barangay, purok, subdivision, and/or village. Minimum public health standards and precautions such as the wearing of face masks, and the maintenance of social distancing protocols should be observed during these activities.
As to the curfew hours, Roque said the 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew hours set in the NCR Plus bubble during the ECQ will remain as is for now pending the final decision of mayors and governors within the region. — DVM, GMA News