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GCQ Bubble vs GCQ vs MECQ: What's the Difference?

What will change inside the bubble?
Mar 22, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño
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Metro Manila and surrounding provinces were locked in a bubble from March 22 to April 4, still under GCQ or general community quarantine, albeit with new rules to curb a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases.

Some of the restrictions are reminiscent of the MECQ or Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, which was in place in August 2020 to cap infections that peaked during that month.

Here's how the GCQ Bubble is different from the GCQ and MECQ:

Which areas are included in the bubble?

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, now collectively known as NCR Plus by the police. Before the surge, only the capital region was under GCQ while the others were under MGCQ, the lowest quarantine.

The bubble also effectively overrides, at least for the five areas, quarantine classifications that are effective until March 31.

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Who can go out of their homes?

GCQ Bubble: Those aged 18 to 65

GCQ: 15 to 65

MECQ: Everyone is told to stay at home.

Take note that unless allowed to work, those who leave their homes can do so only for essentials such as buying groceries, food, and medicine.

Are quarantine passes required?

GCQ Bubble: According to the IATF, those who are allowed to work only need to carry their employee IDs. All others will need quarantine passes. Take note that the implementation of this national police is left up to local governments.

GCQ: No

MECQ: Yes

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Is public transport available?

GCQ Bubble: Yes

GCQ: Yes

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MECQ: No

Is travel to other provinces allowed?

GCQ Bubble: Travel inside the bubble is allowed, however, those going in and out of the bubble can only do so for essentials. This means no leisure travel.

GCQ: Essential and leisure travel allowed, subject to the health protocols of the destination.

MECQ: Only essential travel is allowed. Inter-island travel is prohibited.

Are shopping malls open?

GCQ Bubble: Yes

GCQ: Yes

MECQ: Yes, at limited capacity

Are restaurants open?

GCQ Bubble: Take out, deliveries, and outdoor dining only

GCQ: Take out, deliveries and dine-in

MECQ: Take out and deliveries

Is there a curfew?

GCQ Bubble: 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

GCQ: Depends on the local government, some don't, some have short curfew hours from midnight.

MECQ: 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Are alcoholic drinks allowed?

GCQ Bubble: Most cities and municipalities have enforced alcohol bans.

GCQ: Yes

MECQ: No

Which establishments are closed?

GCQ Bubble: Until April 4, the following will be closed: cinemas, driving schools, libraries, arcades, museums, cultural centers cockpit arenas.

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GCQ: Most businesses are open

MECQ: Only businesses offering essential services or selling basic goods are allowed to oeprate.

Are mass gatherings allowed?

GCQ Bubble: No

GCQ: Yes, at limited capacities of 50% to 75% depending on the industry

MECQ: Restricted to five people only.

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