Increased dine-in, salon capacity in GCQ, MGCQ areas starts next week

Marje Pelayo   •   July 14, 2020   •   154

MANILA, Philippines – Starting next week, dine-in capacity in restaurants and fast-food chains will be increased in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified community quarantine (MGCQ), according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said they have been monitoring around 400 dine-in establishments in a day and all of them are 92% to 100% compliant to the agency’s standards and the national government’s health protocols. 

Starting July 21, dine-in capacity will be increased from 30% to 50% in GCQ areas and from 50% to 75% in MGCQ areas.

“Their very good compliance rate kaya natin iniimprove ang kanilang operating capacity para mas madami [Their very good compliance rate prompted us to improve their operating capacity],” Lopez explained. 

“Hopefully, kumita ng maayos ang ating mga kababayan ng mga workers doon pati pagdagdag ng services [Hopefully, our workers will earn more by improving their services],” he added.

In addition to the expanded dine-in capacity, the DTI has also asked local government units (LGU) to shorten curfew hours in their respective areas as 50% of the earnings of restaurants and fast-food chains come from dine-in services. 

Meanwhile, barbershops and salons will also be allowed to increase their operational capacity to 50% in GCQ areas and to 75% in MGCQ areas starting July 16. 

Lopez believes it would be unfavorable to revert the country to stricter quarantine measures while the economy and industry workers are starting to recover.

“Lalong pressure sa gobyerno na magbigay ng more Social Amelioration Package pagka may isasara pa tayong industriya [It will put more pressure on the government to give more Social Amelioration packages if we are to close industries again],” Lopez said. 

“Kaya nililimitahan na lang ito at ang intensyon ay unti-unti itong nagbubukas [That is why we are setting a limit on the intention of gradually reopening of businesses],” he concluded. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Duterte reverts NCR, nearby areas to MECQ beginning Tuesday, August 4

Maris Federez   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila and other high-risk areas back to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status for 15 days, that will take effect on Tuesday, August 4, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continuing threat.

On Sunday night’s televised briefing, Duterte said the National Capital Region, Bulacan, and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal in Region 4-A will be under the MECQ until August 18.

As proposed by the taskforce, healthcare workers would also be provided additional benefits, as follows:

  • risk allowance for private sector healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients
  • the amount of 10 to 15,000 pesos for every healthcare worker that gets sick
  • life insurance
  • free accommodation
  • free transportation, and
  • free and frequent testing

Malacañang said that the president, likewise, approved the hiring of additional healthcare workers to augment the current workforce, including the hiring of 10,000 medical professionals and call them to active duty and enlistment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The chief executive also approved the Cabinet’s recommendation to issue work and quarantine passes to minimize movement.

Duterte also directed the local government units (LGUs) and the COVID-19 CODE Teams to intensify the localized lockdown strategy and the implementation of Oplan Kalinga.

Malacañang said the guidelines for minimum health standards will also be strictly enforced and intensified while giving twenty million face masks for the poor.

The president has also approved the use of RT-PCT testing as the gold standard.

On August 1, several groups of doctors and medical practitioners have asked for a time-out and for Metro Manila to return to an ECQ status for two weeks to give them time to rest and “recalibrate strategies” against the disease.

On June 1, Malacañang ordered placing Metro Manila and other areas from MECQ to a less strict general community quarantine (GCQ) although the cases of the fatal disease in the region and other key areas have been continually rising.

Under the general community quarantine, businesses in Metro Manila were allowed to open and more modes of public transportation were able to operate in limited capacity.

On Sunday (August 2), 5,032 new infections were added to the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines pushing the total number to 103,185. — /mbmf

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Duterte extends GCQ anew in Metro Manila until August 15

Marje Pelayo   •   July 31, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Friday (July 31) that he is again extending the implementation of  general community quarantine(GCQ) in Metro Manila starting August 1 to 15.

Aside from the National Capital Region, the following areas are also placed under GCQ until August 15:

  • Bulacan
  • Batangas
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal
  • Cebu Province
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Talisay City
  • Minglanilla
  • Consolacion
  • Zamboanga City

Meanwhile, the rest of the country are placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Cebu City shifts to modified ECQ; Metro Manila remains under GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Cebu City eases to modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ starting Thursday (July 16) while the entire Metro Manila remains under general community quarantine (GCQ). 

This was announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday night (July 15) after President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

Cebu City was placed under the strictest quarantine restrictions following the spike in cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the area. 

The Task Force in June focused its response on Cebu City after COVID-19 situations worsened partly due to conflicts among local government officials prompting the President to send Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to handle the problems and enforce strict measures in the area.

Under MECQ, essential workers and authorized persons outside of residence are allowed to go out.

Selected industries will also be allowed to operate under 50% operational capacity. 

Public transport will also be allowed on a limited basis only for essential goods and services.

Meanwhile, the general community quarantine (GCQ) over Metro Manila will be extended until July 31 as approved by President Duterte despite previously considering recommendations from experts of the University of the Philippines to revert the capital to MECQ to further contain the outbreak.

Experts forecast that the virus infection might surge to 80,000 by the end of the month, thus the national government is warning all Metro Manila residents to follow health protocols and practice health precautions, otherwise it will be compelled to impose again the strictest quarantine measures. 

“Pumayag po ang ating Presidente na huwag munang ibalik ang Metro Manila sa MECQ sa susunod na dalawang linggo (The President agreed not to revert Metro Manila to MECQ in the next two weeks),” Roque said. 

“Pero malinaw po sa diskusyon, kapag hindi pa rin po napabagal ang COVID sa Metro Manila, posibleng pong bumalik sa MECQ pagkatapos po nitong dalawang linggo, (But it was clear in the discussion that if COVID cases in Metro Manila do not subside, there is a possibility of reverting to MECQ after two weeks),” he added. 

To further control the problem, Roque said the Metro Manila mayors vowed to intensify their respective localized lockdowns as well as testing, tracing and treatment in addition to the strict implementation of the GCQ. 

Aside from Metro Manila, other areas placed under GCQ starting July 16 are: Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga City, Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Basilan, and Talisay, Minglanilla, and Concepcion in Cebu Province.

Meanwhile, the following areas will be under MGCQ (medium-risk) starting July 16:

  • CAR- Benguet, Baguio City
  • Region 1 – Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, La Union, Dagupan City
  • Region 2 – Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya
  • Region 3 – Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Zambales, Angeles City
  • Region 4A – Batangas, Quezon, Lucena City
  • Region 4B – Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Puerto Princesa City
  • Region 5 – Albay, Masbate, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Naga City
  • Region 6 – Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Capiz, Antique, Aklan, Guimaras, Iloilo City, Bacolod City
  • Region 7 – Negros Oriental, Bohol, Cebu Province
  • Region 8 – Western Samar, Leyte, Biliran, Tacloban City
  • Region 9 – Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga Del Norte
  • Region 10 – Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Lanao Del Norte, Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City
  • Region 11 – Davao Oriental, Davao Del Norte, Davao Del Sur, Davao De Oro, Davao City
  • Region 12 – Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, South Cotabato, General Santos City
  • Region 13 – Agusan Del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao Del Norte, Surigao Del Sur
  • BARMM – Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao

The rest of the country is placed under a category called low-risk MGCQ. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

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