Hold that haircut for another 15 days, or at least until Metro Manila and surrounding provinces are under the second highest quarantine. Dining in restaurants is also temporarily not allowed, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Monday.
Starting 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, the capital region along with Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal will be placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine or MECQ until April 18. Medical frontliners called for a return to strict curbs saying they were close to being overwhelmed by rising infections. The government said it would use the MECQ period to trace and test the close contacts of COVID-19 patients.
Barbershops and salons are prohibited under MECQ, so are gyms, internet cafes, pet grooming and drive-in cinemas. Restaurants can offer only delivery and takeout and malls can open only up to 50 percent capacity and for non-leisure shops only, based on guidelines from the Department of Trade and Industry. See a portion of the memorandum below:
During the two-month-long GCQ or General Community Quarantine, Metro Manila saw a gradual reopening of businesses including grooming and restaurant dine-ins. That will change for 15 days at least during MECQ, which will also shut public transport.
"Under the MECQ, there are still a number of business sectors allowed although most at limited scale, while some of the recently allowed sectors under GCQ such as dine-in restaurants, barbershops, salons, and the recent additions such as gyms, review and testing centers, other personal grooming shops, internet cafes, shall not be allowed temporarily in the next 15 days," Lopez was quoted on ABS-CBN News.
"We wish that this move back to MECQ will break the increasing trend of positive COVID cases and will eventually allow us to bring back the much needed livelihood and jobs to many of our countrymen," he said.
Chruches will also be shut throughout the MECQ. Quarantine passes will again be required and checkpoints will be set up to ensure that only those who are on essential errands or are allowed to go to work are outside their homes.