COVID-19 restrictions in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces will be downgraded one notch to GCQ "with heightened restrictions" after a month of strict quarantines that were meant to control a surge in infections, Malacañang said Thursday.
From May 15 until May 31, the capital region, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, and Bulacan will transition to GCQ or general community quarantine with "heightened restrictions" as the country sees lower COVID-19 daily infections.
The heightened restrictions covering the Greater Manila Area are as follows:
- Only essential travel in and out of the Greater Manila Area is allowed.
- Public transportation will remain operational as per the provided capacities by the Department of Transportation.
- Indoor dining will be limited at 20% seating capacity.
- Outdoor dining shall be at 50% seating capacity.
- Outdoor tourist attractions may operate at 30% capacity subject to strict adherence to minimum public health standards.
- "Specialized markets" of the Department of Tourism following minimum health standards are allowed to operate as long as protocols and standards set by the DOT are implemented.
- Religious gatherings, wakes, funerals are allowed up to 10% of the venue's capacity.
- Non-contact sports and outdoor games are allowed.
- Salons, barbershops, and other personal care services that allow for services not requiring mask removal can operate at 30% capacity.
- Individuals aged 18-65 can go out of their homes.
- Entertainment venues, such as bars, concert halls, theaters, recreational venues, such as internet cafes, billiards halls, arcades, amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides, indoor sports courts and venues, indoor tourist attractions, venues for meetings, conferences, exhibitions are prohibited.
- Interzonal travel from the Greater Manila Area shall remain prohibited. Authorized Persons Outside of Residence are exempted.
Here are the other community quarantine classifications from May 15 until May 31:
- Santiago City, Quirino
- Zamboanga City
- Greater Manila Area (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal)
- Baguio City
- Mountain Province
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Puerto Princesa
- Iligan City
- Davao City
- Lanao del Sur
- Rest of the Philippines
Daily COVID-19 cases rose to record levels with as many as 15,000 new cases in a single day, prompting the government to lock down some 24 million people for two weeks in April. Quarantine protocols were eased a bit in mid-April to MECQ.
Last week, Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Karl Kendrick Chua said the quarantine in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces should be loosened by mid-May for the Philippines to meet its growth target.
Economic managers are targeting a gross domestic product growth of 6.5% to 7.5% this year and 8% to 10% in 2022 after the economy last year sank to its worst recession since World War II.
Chua said authorities are "managing the risk" instead of shutting down the entire economy, with up to 98% of workers allowed to go to work as long as they have no COVID symptoms.