Written by: Rita Magallona
Since May 1, some areas previously under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) have been downgraded to the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ). This move was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte last April 30 in areas that have been identified as having low to moderate numbers of COVID-19 cases.
What is the General Community Quarantine?
To balance the need to sustain the economy and to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the government has decided to impose the GCQ in certain areas of the Philippines. More companies will be allowed to operate under the GCQ, provided they comply with the workplace rules provided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Property services can also resume under the GCQ, except for real estate buying and selling. For a complete list of the sectors that can resume operations under the GCQ, please refer to the Philippine Information Agency or the latest post by the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force.
Which rules apply to both ECQ and GCQ areas?
- Mandatory wearing of face masks in public
- Temperature check in public areas
- Physical or social distancing
- Regular use of disinfectants
- Movement restricted to obtaining essentials
- Requiring certain people to stay home (aged below 21 years old and 60 years old and above, people with health risks, and pregnant women)
People who fall under the latter category will only be exempted if they are “indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services or for work in permitted industries and offices.”
Is public transportation allowed during the GCQ?
Public transportation under the GCQ will run at reduced capacity to ensure the one-meter physical distance between passengers. The MRT, LRT 1, LRT 2, and PNR, which may resume operations on May 16 subject to approval.
Can hotels operate during the GCQ?
Hotels may offer services but only for the following reasons:
- Long-term bookings
- Existing accommodations as of May 1 for Filipinos and foreigners stranded due to the quarantine
- Accommodations for distressed Overseas Filipino Workers
Are public gatherings allowed during the GCQ?
Work-related and religious gatherings, originally included in the list of allowed mass gatherings, are again declared prohibited after local officials of GCQ areas protested the move. Officials pointed out that they cannot implement health standards in these locations, especially in churches.
These measures, like the stricter ECQ rules in high-risk areas, are meant to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus. Since there is still no cure or vaccine for COVID-19, these measures may be the new normal for the next few months.
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