On May 28, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte that Metro Manila be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.
Once the transition takes effect, full operations will be allowed for the following sectors:
- agriculture, fisheries, and forestry
- food manufacturing, hygiene products, and all supply chains—including ink, packaging and raw materials
- hospitals and medical or veterinary clinics
- logistics, water, banks, and energy
- internet, telecommunications, and media
- BPO and export
- postal and courier
- rental, leasing, and housing
- recruitment and placement
Meanwhile, hardware stores, clothing, and accessory stores, barbershops, salon, spas, and other personal care industries will reopen in malls. Restaurants are still only allowed to cater for take-out and delivery until the quarantine is lifted. (Read: Will table barriers be the ‘new normal’ in PH restaurants?)
Public transportation services will also be allowed to resume operations, except for jeepney services.
Reopening the Economy
The decision of the IATF-EID to downgrade quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila comes as the national government gradually reopens the economy after a two-month shutdown. (READ: What is the difference between MECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ?)
However, as businesses start to reopen, strict safety protocols should be implemented—one-meter distancing between employees, wearing of face masks, and temperature checks. (Read: ‘Strict social distancing’ shall be observed during Mass – CBCP)
And as the threat of COVID-19 hounds the country, the government suggests alternative working arrangements such as work-from-home to the private sector.
The government has previously allowed 50% operations for businesses in Metro Manila, the country’s main financial hub.
Metro Manila is currently under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), which still restricts travel and most activities, and allows only what the government has categorized as essential businesses, services, and movement of people.
NCR mayors have recently recommended the shift to GCQ, emphasizing the need to reopen the economy to help their constituents cope with the crisis.