President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna or the National Capital Region Plus under general community quarantine "with heightened restrictions" from May 15 until May 31, 2021.
In a briefing with Duterte and Cabinet officials, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the following areas will also be under GCQ during the same period:
- Baguio City
- Mountain Province
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Puerto Princesa
- Iligan City
- Davao City
- Lanao del Sur
Meanwhile, the following areas will be under modified enhanced community quarantine:
- City of Santiago
- Zamboanga City
The rest of the country, on the other hand, will remain under modified GCQ.
Heightened restrictions explained
On the heightened restrictions in the NCR Plus, Roque said only essential travel into and out of the NCR Plus shall be allowed.
Public transportation shall remain operational at such capacities and protocols in accordance with the Department of Transportation guidelines while the use of active transportation shall be promoted.
Also, indoor dine-in services in NCR Plus shall be at 20% venue or seating capacity while outdoor or al fresco dining shall be at 50% venue or seating capacity.
Outdoor tourist attractions in the NCR Plus, on the other hand, may be opened at 30% with strict adherence to minimum public health standards.
Further allowed in the NCR Plus are specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) following the minimum public health standards and implementation of protocols and restrictions as set by the DOT.
Religious gatherings and gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 in NCR Plus shall be allowed up to 10% of the venue capacity.
Also continued to be allowed in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions are non-contact sports in outdoor contact sports, games, scrimmages; and personal care services that allow for services not requiring mask removal, such as salons, parlors, beauty clinics, etc. at 30% capacity.
Individuals, 18-65 years of age, can leave their places of residence in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.
Meanwhile, entertainment venues, such as bars, concert halls, theaters, etc; recreational venues, such as internet cafes, billiards halls, arcades, etc; amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides; indoor sports courts and venues and indoor tourist attractions; venues for meetings, conferences, exhibitions shall not be allowed in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.
Interzonal travel from NCR Plus areas, except those conducted by Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs), shall remain prohibited in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.
Duterte said he would hold local officials responsible for violations of the guidelines.
"Be mindful because we are still in a pandemic and there is no way of knowing how long this will last on this planet," Duterte said.
The country has so far recorded 1,124,724 cases of COVID-19 including 18,821 deaths and 1,050,643 recoveries.
Over two million individuals in the Philippines have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine. —LDF/NB, GMA News