Religious gatherings up to 10% of venue capacity to be allowed in GCQ areas after July 10 – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020   •   478

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday announced that religious gatherings involving attendees of up to 10% of the venue capacity will soon be allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this is based on the latest resolution approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases following calls for the partial reopening of places of worship.

Roque said the new policy will take effect next Friday, July 10.

“Magkakaroon muna po tayo ng dry run na 10% itong darating na linggo, pero yung 10% po na allowed na ang lahat ay magsisimula po ng July 10,” he said in a televised press briefing.

The Palace official stressed that public health standards such as physical distancing, wearing of face mask, disinfection and hand hygiene, should be strictly followed.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced that the following areas will be under GCQ from July 1 to July 15:

  • National Capital Region
  • Cavite
  • Benguet
  • Rizal
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Talisay City
  • Towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu Province
  • Leyte
  • Ormoc
  • Southern Leyte

Roque also announced that operation of travel agencies in GCQ areas will also be allowed but only limited to a skeleton workforce.

The Department of Trade and Industry will also release a set of guidelines on additional services that will be allowed in salons and barbershops.

The latest IATF resolution also states that practice and conditioning sessions for professional basketball and football teams will also be permitted.

Roque said the move comes after a joint administrative order was signed between the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board, and the Department of Health to allow limited physical activities amid the community quarantine. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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).

IATF to allow partial opening of gyms, internet cafes, aesthetic services starting August 1

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the partial opening of more business establishments in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified (GCQ) starting August 1, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Wednesday.

According to IATF Resolution No. 59, establishments in GCQ areas that are offering aesthetic services, gyms, fitness centers and sports facilities, internet cafes, personal grooming, pet grooming, testing and tutorial centers as well as review centers and drive-in cinemas will be allowed to operate up to 30 percent of capacity.

The DTI, however, clarified that gyms with contact sports such as karate and boxing are not covered by the measure.

In areas under MGCQ, limited operations will be allowed for establishments offering full body massage, live events, entertainment industries, libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers, and tourist destinations, as well as driving, and dance/acting/voice schools.

The DTI said these businesses will be allowed to partially operate as long as mandatory health protocols, such as physical distancing and sanitation, are followed.

Meanwhile, Malacañang reiterated on Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte will make announcements this week about the new community quarantine classification that will be implemented in August.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president is set to meet with the IATF on Thursday to discuss its recommendations.

Roque also said that aside from the new community quarantine restrictions, the public should also await the “major changes” that will be implemented in the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Palace official earlier said that these changes, which will include massive testing, “invigorated” tracing, and creation of more quarantine facilities, will focus more on the policies to contain the public health crisis. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

IATF urged anew to reconsider rule on motorcycle barriers for riding couples

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. on Monday reiterated his appeal to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to reconsider its policy on the use of barriers for motorcycle riding couples.

In a statement, Revilla said the IATF should heed the sentiments of riders, several engineers and other experts on the mandatory installation of barriers in motorcycles due to concerns on safety, aerodynamics and maneuverability for riders.

“Napakarami po sa ating mga kababayan ang mismong nagsasabi na nahihirapan silang magbalanse at mag-maneuver ng kanilang motorsiklo dahil sa divider,” he said.

The senator suggested that the IATF conduct a comprehensive consultation among motorcycle manufacturers and experts to come up with better guidelines that will protect motorcycle riders from obtaining COVID-19 and at the same time, spare them from any road mishaps.

“Sa hirap po ng buhay ngayon lalo na’t marami sa ating mga kababayan ang walang hanapbuhay at pambili ng divider, napipilitan silang mag-improvise ng sarili nilang barricade. Mas nalalagay tuloy sa alanganin ang ating mga kababayan lalo na kung yung improvised na divider nila ay hindi matibay ang pagkakakabit, marupok ang materyales, o di kaya’y kulang o sobra sa bigat,” he said.

Revilla renewed his call after Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield Commander, announced on July 18 that the government is extending the deadline for the installation of motorcycle barriers from July 19 to July 26.

Eleazar earlier said that the deadline was moved to give more time for motorcycle riders to install barriers based on the two designs approved by the task force.

“Gusto natin kasi na maka-comply sila, mabigyan ng mahaba pang oras para doon sa mga design na inilabas ng National Task Force. At ‘yon nga din ang panawagan n’ong iba na pwede makahinga ng extension pati na rin itong naglabas ng design at sa Angkas, sinasabi nga nila mas maganda siguro na mas makarami na maka-avail n’ong design na inilabas nila,” Eleazar said.

He said that after July 26, they will apprehend those who will violate the new rule.

Since the task force announced the policy allowing pillion riding in motorcycle for couples on July 10, authorities have monitored more than 7,000 violators in various parts of the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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