THE country will be transitioning into more relaxed lockdowns starting June 1, with fewer restrictions on people’s movement and more outdoor activities and physical reporting to work allowed.
Most areas in the Philippines will be placed under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) — the least strict lockdown level — the starting Monday, while Metro Manila, Davao City, Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), Region 3 (Central Luzon), Region 4-A (Calabarzon consisting of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Pangasinan, and Albay will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ).
The Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) states that GCQ involves the imposition of temporary measures on movement of transportation, industries, and presence of uniformed personnel. However, this is less strict than the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) which was originally imposed on Metro Manila and many parts of the Philippines and allowed only sectors delivering basic goods and services to operate and with public transportation prohibited.
MGCQ is also called the “transition to the normal,” with much fewer restrictions than GCQ.
In areas under GCQ, persons under the age of 21 and those 60 and above, and people who suffer from immunodeficiencies, or have comorbidities or other health risks, and pregnant women, are not allowed to leave their homes unless they are obtaining essential goods and services or have to go to work in permitted industries and offices. The same limitation is imposed on the people living with them. But under MGCQ, everyone is allowed to leave their residence.
The GCQ restrictions on leaving the house do not apply though when it comes to outdoor exercise. Everyone is allowed to do outdoor non-contact sports and exercises under GCQ such as walking, jogging, running, biking, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian, and skateboarding as long as minimum public health standards are followed such as the wearing of masks, observing social distancing, and no sharing of equipment.
For MGCQ, both outdoor and indoor non-contact sports and exercises will be allowed. The same minimum health standards should be observed.
Unlike GCQ areas where mass public gatherings are banned and leisure establishments and areas are closed, under MGCQ movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, entertainment activities, community assemblies and non-essential work gatherings, among others, are allowed — but attendees will be limited to 50% of the venue’s capacity.
Under MGCQ, employees of public and private offices can resume physically reporting to work at full operating capacity. All public transportation will also be allowed to operate as long as minimum health standards are implemented, especially social distancing.
No face-to-face or in-person classes will be allowed under GCQ, while under MGCQ, tertiary schools can conduct face to face classes as long as minimum health standards are followed, although the mass gathering of students will still be banned. For those in K-12, the Department of Education’s Learning Continuity Plan, which includes remote and distance learning, will be adopted for areas under GCQ and MGCQ. — Gillian M. Cortez