Only essential travel will be allowed in and out of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, which will be treated as one area, from March 22 to April 4, to tame the surge in COVID-19 infections, the government's pandemic task force said.
The capital region and the four surrounding provinces will likewise be placed under GCQ or general community quarantine, the second lowest set of restrictions. As of Sunday, the Philippines has 73,702 active cases.
“Sana po maintindihan ng lahat na this is for the common good. Alam natin po natin na nagplano na kayo at talagang you were looking forward to this Holy Week break. Pero kung papayagan po natin ang [non-essential] travel ngayon, ay talagang mas mapapabilis ang pagkalat ng new variants sa iba pang parte ng Pilipinas," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.
To those going home to and from the GCQ bubble, one must present an identification card showing proof of residence to be allowed access, he said, reiterating travelling for leisure isn't allowed.
"Sa tingin ko naman maiintindihan ng sambayanang Pilipino na with [about] 8,000 COVID cases per day… reasonable naman po itong bubble na ginawa natin sa Metro Manila at mga karatig na probinsya," he added.
The IATF also issued the following guidelines:
- Public transport continues, subject to restrictions by the DOTr.
- Only authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) allowed without quarantine pass. Read about APOR here.
- All mass gatherings, including religious gatherings are prohibited. Face to face meetings discouraged.
- Weddings, baptisms and funerals limited to 10 people.
- Current capacities of essential and non-essential industries will remain, subject to strict adherence with safety protocols.
- Restaurants will be limited to delivery and takeout. Al fresco or outdoor dining will be allowed as long as there are two people per table and with acrylic barriers.
- The suspension of operations of the following, as announced on March 18, will remain in force: cinemas, driving schools, libraries, arcades, museums, cultural centers cockpit arenas.
- The common curfew of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. remains.
- Only those 18 to 65 can leave the house.