The MECQ in the bubble that includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite is extended. While by name, it is the second strictest, officials have said that the additional two-week window will be "flexible," allowing more businesses to operate.
President Rodrigo Duterte extended the MECQ with apologies, as he urged millions inside the bubble to cooperate. The decision was necessary to help the health system breathe during the COVID surge that has pushed cumulative cases past the one-million mark.
MECQ is the second strictest quarantine classification in the Philippines, following enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Down one notch is the general community quarantine (GCQ), while the loosest quarantine level is the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), which has never been experienced in Metro Manila.
Confused? Here's a quick rundown of what to expect during the 14-day extension. This article will be updated as more rules are announced.
Curfew in Metro Manila will be shortened to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting May 1, three hours shorter compared to the April 2021's 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
Residents must stay at home at all times, except for authorized people outside of residents (APOR) whose industries can operate during MECQ. One per household can go out to buy food and medicine. Those aged 18 to 65 can go out.
Which businesses are open during MECQ?
Allowed at full capacity: hospitals, medical manufacturing, agro-forestry and delivery, and courier services, media, BPO, e-commerce, postal and courier services, real estate, rental and leasing of vehicles and equipment, housing services, and employment activities.
At half capacity: manufacturing, administrative support, financial services including money exchange, legal, advertising and market research, publishing, photography, fashion design, graphic and interior design, wholesale and trade of vehicle parts, vehicle repairs, malls (subject to DTI rules), restaurant takeout and delivery.
The inter-agency task force leading the country's fight against COVID-19 is set to release on Thursday a list of industries which would be allowed to operate under the more flexible MECQ, Palace spokesperson Harry Roque told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo.
Those below 18 and over 65 are required to stay home even in MECQ. Local government units however can ease the minimum age-based restriction to 15 years old depending on the COVID-19 situation in their area.
Public transportation remains operational at limited capacities in MECQ areas just like in ECQ areas. Biking is encouraged.
Religious gatherings such as masses are allowed at up to 10% capacity of the venue and can be increased to 30% depending on the LGU covering the area.
Gatherings for wakes and funerals are also allowed in areas under MECQ with attendance limited to immediate family members. Non-religious gatherings outside of residence remain prohibited in areas under MECQ.
For MECQ, individual outdoor exercise such as jogging, running or biking is allowed within the general area of their residence. During ECQ, the government limited outdoor exercise from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. within the barangay.
Food and dining
Dining both outdoor and indoor are allowed during the extended MECQ bubble. However, Indoor dining can resume only at 10% capacity.
Businesses allowed to operate at full capacity during ECQ are still allowed to operate the same way during MECQ.
These businesses, which were on skeleton or reduced workforce during ECQ, are allowed to expand their operating capacity under MECQ:
- Dental, optometry, rehabilitation, and other medical clinics
- Veterinary clinics
- Banks and money transfer services
- Capital markets
- Water supply and janitorial or sanitation services
- Energy sector
- Telecommunication companies
- Airline and aircraft maintenance, Shipyard operations
- Funeral and embalming services
- Security personnel
- Printing establishmnets
- Repair and maintenance of machinery and equipment
- Leasing of real and personal properties
- Recruitment and employment activities
These businesses are not allowed during MECQ
- Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibition
- Cinemas, theaters, karaoke bars and other entertainment venues with live performers
- Internet cafes and other recreational venues
- Kids' amusement and playrooms
- Outdoor sports courts or venues for contact sports
- Gyms, fitness studios, and sports facilities
- Casinos, cockpits, betting shops
- Tourist attractions