What To Expect In Areas Under GCQ and MGCQ

Starting June 1, Monday, the Philippine government will begin implementing less strict community quarantine measures after two months of movement restrictions to control the COVID-19 virus from further spreading. 

The areas under GCQ include Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, Albay, and Davao City.

However, the rest of the country will be placed under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) – the lowest form of community quarantine that will be implemented by the government.

According to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, there is no need for another executive order from President Duterte regarding the imposition of the GCQ and MGCQ as the government will adopt the previously released guidelines by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Listed below are the guidelines for GCQ and MGCQ:

Public Health Measures

In areas under GCQ and MGCQ, all individuals are required to wear facemasks and observe minimum public health standards. 

Movement of People

Citizens in GCQ areas are freer to move around. However, they are still urged to travel only when necessary, such as accessing essential goods and services and going for work in the offices or industries permitted to operate.

Senior citizens, those below 21 years old, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidities, pregnant women, and other health risks, are still not allowed to go out. This rule does not apply if they’re going to work or out to purchase essential goods. 

In MGCQ areas, all persons are allowed outside their residence regardless of health and age status. 

Quarantine passes will no longer be required for residents under GCQ and MGCQ starting June 1, as said by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. The government now prepares to further ease COVID-19 restrictions across the country.

However, the DILG clarified that crossing borders, particularly moving from one province to another or one region to another, would still require a travel pass from the Philippine National Police.

Work in the Government

Work in government offices in areas both under GCQ and MGCQ may be at full operational capacity or under alternative work arrangements per the Civil Service Commission (CSC) rules and regulations.

Physical reporting for work in government should have alternative arrangements for those 60 and above, with immunodeficiency, comorbidities, other health risks, and pregnant women.

Allowed Industries

In GCQ areas, the following can operate at full capacity: (Category I industries) Power, agriculture, fishery and forestry industries, energy, water, utilities, food manufacturing and food supply chain businesses, retail food establishments such as food preparation establishments limited to take-out and delivery services, supermarkets, information technology and telecommunications, health-related establishments, logistics, and the media.

The following can operate in areas under GCQ from 50 percent to full capacity: (Category II Industries) Mining and other manufacturing, electronic commerce, delivery, repair and maintenance, and housing and office services.

The following can operate up to 50 percent capacity in areas under GCQ: (Category III industries) Financial services, legal and accounting, scientific services, professional services, technical services, auditing services, non-leisure wholesale and retail, and non-leisure services.

Industries under Category I to III are allowed to operate at full capacity in areas under MGCQ. In contrast, barbershops, salons, and other personal care establishments, and dine-in services in retail food establishments may operate at 50 percent capacity.

Transportation Guidelines

Public transportation is allowed to operate, but within limited capacity in areas under GCQ. Sanitary measures will be strictly implemented, such as wearing face masks, no-contact and cashless payments, , availability of alcohol and sanitizers, use of thermal scanners, proper contact tracing, disinfection of high-touch surfaces of vehicles, and installation of disinfection facilities in all public transport terminals.

In the implementation of public transport guidelines in areas under GCQ, there will be two phases to be executed for allowing the operation of the different modes of public transportation.

During Phase 1, DOTr will allow the operation of the following: MRT and LRT at 10-12% capacity, PNR at 35% capacity, bus augmentation, point-to-point buses, taxis, TNVS such as Grab and Angkas, shuttle services, bicycles, airplanes with domestic flights in GCQ to GCQ destination, and tricycles but are subject to prior approval of concerned local government units (LGUs).

Provincial buses are not allowed to enter Metro Manila and operations of jeepneys are still not allowed on this phase. 

During Phase 2, set at June 22 to 30, modern PUVs, Public Utility Buses (PUBs), and UV Express will already be allowed to operate but with limited passenger capacity, along with the initial set of transport modes permitted to work during Phase 1.

As of the moment, DOTr has yet to release the guidelines for the operation of public transport in MGCQ areas.

Opening of Schools

For primary education in GCQ and MGCQ areas, the Department of Education’s Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan will be implemented with schools adopting various learning delivery options. This includes face-to-face, distance learning, homeschooling, blended learning, and other modes of delivery. This will depend on the local COVID Risk Severity Classification of their areas.

As for higher education, no face-to-face classes are enforced until August 31. Although private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are encouraged to open in August. 

In MGCQ areas, face-to-face, or in-person classes, may be conducted by HEIs but with strict compliance to minimum health standards. 

Mass Gathering

Mass gatherings like concerts, sporting events, movie screenings, and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, religious gatherings, and non-essential meetings are prohibited in provinces under GCQ. 

Mass gatherings essential for authorized humanitarian activities or the provision of government services, on the other hand, will be allowed.

Meanwhile, in areas under MGCQ, mass gatherings are allowed given that the participants will be limited to 50 percent of both the venue or seating capacity.

Although the quarantine measures have been eased by the government, they still urge the public to stay at home as much as they can. 

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