By: Darryl John Esguerra, Inquirer.net
Three days from today, May 29, the Philippine government will start enforcing less stringent community quarantine measures after more than two months of strict movement restrictions to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.
Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, Albay, and Davao City will be under general community quarantine or GCQ starting Monday, June 1.
The rest of the country, meanwhile, will be placed under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) – the lowest form of community quarantine enforced by the government.
According to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, there’s no need for President Rodrigo Duterte to issue another executive order on the imposition of the GCQ and MGCQ as the government will adopt the guidelines long released by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Here’s what to expect under GCQ and MGCQ:
Public health standards
Under GCQ and MGCQ, all residents are required to observe minimum public health standards at all times.
Movement of people in GCQ areas will be limited to accessing essential goods and services, and for work in the offices or industries permitted to operate except for leisure purposes.
Senior citizens and those below 21 years old, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women will be required to stay home at all times unless for the provision of essential goods and services, or are allowed to work in permitted industries.
In MGCQ areas, all persons, regardless of age and health status, are allowed outside their residence.
Work in government offices in areas under GCQ may be at full operational capacity or under alternative work arrangements as agencies may deem proper in accordance with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) rules and regulations.
Physical reporting for work in government offices in MGCQ areas may also be at full capacity with alternative arrangements for those 60 and above, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women.
In GCQ areas, the following can operate at full capacity: (Category I industries) Power, energy, water, utilities, agriculture, fishery and forestry industries, food manufacturing and food supply chain businesses, food retail establishments such as supermarkets, food preparation establishments limited to take-out and delivery services, health-related establishments, logistics, information technology and telecommunications, and the media.
From 50 percent to full capacity, the following can operate in areas under GCQ: (Category II Industries) Mining and other manufacturing, electronic commerce, delivery, repair and maintenance, and housing and office services
The following can operate up to 50 percent capacity in areas under GCQ: (Category I industries) Financial services, legal and accounting, auditing services, professional services, scientific services, technical services, non-leisure services, non-leisure wholesale and retail
Industries under Category I to III are allowed to operate at full capacity in areas under MGCQ, while the following may operate at 50 percent capacity: barbershops, salons, and other personal care establishments, and dine-in services in food retail establishments.
Road, rail, maritime, and aviation sectors of public transportation shall operate at a reduced operational and vehicle capacity in areas under GCQ, given that minimum health standards are observed. A minimum 1-meter physical distancing in public transport is required.
Meanwhile, road, rail, maritime, and aviation sectors of public transportation will be allowed to operate in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). A minimum of 1-meter physical distancing is likewise required in public transportation.
As of posting time, DOTr has yet to release the guidelines for public transportation reopening in MGCQ areas. However, the full mass transport guidelines for GCQ areas may be viewed here.
For basic education in GCQ and MGCQ areas, the Department of Educations’ Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan will be enforced with schools adopting various learning delivery options such as, but not limited to, face-to-face, blended learning, distance learning, homeschooling, and other modes of delivery depending on the local COVID Risk Severity Classification of their areas and compliance with minimum health standards.
As for higher education, the opening of classes in GCQ areas will be based on the higher education institutions’ (HEIs) delivery mode. No face-to-face classes until August 31 although private HEIs are encouraged to open in August.
Face-to-face or in-person classes may be conducted by HEIs in MGCQ areas but with strict compliance to minimum health standards. HEI activities that involve the mass gathering of students are still prohibited.
Mass gatherings such as but not limited to, movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, religious gatherings, and non-essential work gatherings will be prohibited in areas under GCQ. Mass gatherings essential for the provision of government services or authorized humanitarian activities will be allowed.
On the other hand, public gatherings in areas under MGCQ are allowed provided that participants will be limited to 50 percent of the venue or seating capacity.