(3rd UPDATE) Some 23 million people in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna will return to GCQ from Wednesday until Aug. 31, ending 15 days of strict quarantine or MECQ to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The General Community Quarantine is the second lowest in the government's four-step classification system. Restrictions are evolving and this GCQ will be a little different, officials said. The strict GCQ restrictions apply only to Metro Manila, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Here's what you need to know:
It will be a strict GCQ, with curfews
Metro Manila mayors agreed to reimpose a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., Roque said. The cities of Manila, Muntinlupa and Pasig, which have curfews of their own prior to the GCQ, will adjust to the prescribed time, he said.
Expect police patrols and checkpoints to stay when Metro Manila and surrounding provinces. Troops will make sure that those outside their homes will follow local ordinances on the wearing of face shields and face masks among others, said Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, head of Joint Task Force COVID Shield.
Those who are allowed to work only need to bring their office IDs. Outside those identified as APOR or Authorized Person Outside of Residence, people going out on errands need to bring a quarantine pass.
Gyms and internet cafe's can't reopen yet.
Not under this GCQ, the Palace clarified. This overrides previous GCQ regulations that gyms and internet cafes are allowed under such quarantine.
The capital region in its suburbs must work to be donwgraded to the lowest quarantine, MGCQ, to go the following: tattoo and body piercing shops, live events, entertainment industries, libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers, tourist destinations, and schools for language, driving, dance, acting and voice.
Salons are for haircuts only.
This means no dyeing of hair, manicures, and pedicures. Strict social distancing must also be observed inside salons, Metro Manila Council Chairperson and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez told DZMM.
Public transport resumes
The MRT-3, LRT 1 and 2 and the PNR all announced resumption of opertions. The GCQ also allows buses, taxis and ride-share vehicles.
Apart from the usual face masks, face shields will also be required for all passengers and staff as prescribed by the Department of Transportation. Those who do not comply will not be allowed to ride the train. Riders must undergo temperature scans before boarding the train and must maintain social distance inside carriages.
The office is a lonely place
Videoconferencing is encouraged for meetings with participants above 15 attendees. Meal breaks will be staggered. These are among changes on top of the routine temperature checks, physical distancing, face shields and face masks.
Employers are encouraged to provide shuttle service where “No Talking,” “No Eating,” and “No Taking Phone Calls” signs should be displayed.
Swab tests for vulnerable workers
The labor and trade departments have released a list of "priority" workers who need to undergo RT-PCR or swab tests for COVID-19. Employers are "encouraged to collaborate" with national and local government officials on testing, including drive-thru and walk-thru options, according to the memo signed by Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III and Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez.