Metro Manila, other areas to shift to GCQ with ‘heightened restrictions’ on May 15

THE Philippines’ National Capital Region (NCR) Plus will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” from May 15 to May 31.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, May 13, downgraded the quarantine status of NCR Plus following the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, May 13, 2021, approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31, 2021,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Likewise, the following areas will be under GCQ until the end of the month: Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Iligan City, Davao City, Lanao del Sur, and Puerto Princesa.

Meanwhile, the city of Santiago in Isabela, Zamboanga City, Quirino, and Ifugao will remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

The rest of the country will be under the least stringent modified GCQ until May 31.
Heightened restrictions
According to Roque, a stricter GCQ means that movement is limited to essential travel in and out of NCR Plus.

“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,” he added.

Roque also said that indoor dine-in services in NCR Plus will be allowed at 20 percent venue or seating capacity while outdoor or al fresco dining will be allowed at 50 percent capacity.

Outdoor tourist attractions in NCR Plus may be opened at 30 percent 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,” said Roque.

Regional gatherings, necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 in NCR Plus will be allowed up to 10 percent of the venue capacity.

Moreover, personal care services that don’t require mask removal such as salons, parlors, and beauty clinics can operate at 30 percent capacity along with non-contact sports, games, and scrimmages held outdoors.

“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,” Roque stressed.

Only individuals aged 18 to 65 years old will be allowed to leave their places of residence in GCQ areas with heightened restrictions.

To date, there are a total of 1,131,467 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 18,958 fatalities and 1,053,523 recoveries. n

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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