Last April 11, 2021, the government shifted the country’s community quarantine from ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) to MECQ (Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine which will immediately take place on April 12.
Photo from Unsplash
According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday, Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna (or collectively dubbed as NCR+) will ease to the less strict form of lockdown until April 30. Such is the case with the provinces of Quirino and Abra, and Santiago City in Isabela.
So, here’s what we know about the guidelines so far:
1. Strict home quarantine will be observed. Travel is limited to accessing essential goods and services, for work in permitted establishments.
2. Those below 18 years old, over 65 years old, individuals with comorbidities, pregnant women should stay at home, except for work and obtaining essential services. LGUs may relax the minimum age range to below 15 years old, depending on the COVID-19 situation in their respective jurisdictions.
3. Mass gatherings are (still) prohibited. Religious gatherings will only be allowed up to 10% of the venue capacity, but LGUs are allowed to increase it up to 30%.
4. Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for non-COVID deaths are allowed but limited to immediate family members. Visits to memorial parks, cemeteries and columbaria shall be limited to not more than 10 people per group and not exceeding thirty percent 30% of the venue capacity. For confirmed, suspected or probable COVID deaths, regardless of community quarantine status, only adult family members of the deceased are permitted to attend the funeral. There will be no viewing of cremains or any large gatherings at crematoriums and burial grounds should be avoided.
5. Individual outdoor exercises while wearing face masks are allowed within the barangay or village.
6. Road, rail, maritime and aviation sectors of public transportation may operate at such capacity and protocols in accordance with guidelines issued by the Transportation department.
7. Metro Manila will have a unified curfew hour from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Authorized persons outside of residence are exempted from the curfew.
8. According to the Department of Trade, these establishments and activities are allowed to reopen at half capacity. This includes media establishments, clinics both medical and dental, veterinary clinics, banks, pawnshops, money transfer services, capital markets, water supply, janitorial/sanitation services, energy sector, telecommunication companies, internet service provider, cable television provider, airline and aircraft maintenance, aviation schools, and shipyard operations.
9. Businesses that are allowed to operate at 50% capacity during ECQ can now open fully.
10. These industries are still prohibited from operating: entertainment venues such as theaters; recreational activities such as internet cafes and arcades; amusement parks; indoor and outdoor sports courts; gyms, spas, and swimming pools; outdoor tourist attractions; and indoor tourist attractions such as libraries and museums.
Domestic Travel (Source: Philippine Visa)
Unfortunately, travel restrictions are still pretty strict especially if you’re coming from cities/provinces that are under ECQ or MECQ. Not unless you’re a health worker, APOC or a returning OFW, traveling during this time may be quite limited. However, people living in areas under GCQ and MGCQ may be able to travel to other parts of the country that are under the same movement. However, it is still up to the local government to impose requirements on visitors to protect their people and place.
For those who want to know, here are the current quarantine classifications according to the Philippine government:
Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) through April 30, 2021
Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Santiago City, Quirino Province, and Abra, Santiago City in Isabela
General Community Quarantine (GCQ) through April 30, 2021:
Luzon – The entire Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Cagayan, Isabela, and Nueva Vizcaya in Region II, Batangas, and Quezon Province
Visayas –Tacloban City
Mindanao – Davao City, Iligan City, and Lanao Del Sur.
*All other areas not mentioned are under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
International Travel (Source: Philippine Visa)
The Philippine government has suspended the entry of all foreign nationals through April 21, 2021. In addition, the number of inbound international passengers has been limited to 1,500 per day.
The following individuals are exempt from the entry ban provided they have a valid visa at the time of entry:
Diplomats and members of international organizations, and their dependents, provided they hold a valid 9(e) visa or 47(a)(2) visa;
Foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation duly endorsed by Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration;
Foreign seafarers under the “Green Lanes” program for a crew change, provided that they hold a 9(c) crew list visa;
Foreign parent/s, spouses, and children of Filipino citizens traveling with the Filipino citizen; and
Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the Chairperson of the NTF COVID-19 or his duly authorized representative.
Currently, the government has yet to release updates for Filipinos who are planning to travel outside the country. We will update this as we get new information.