Know the Differences in Lockdown Stages of ECQ, MECQ, GCQ

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ECQ, MECQ, GCQ Lockdown Stages
One of Metro Manila’s quarantine checkpoints. Image from the Philippine National Police.

The day after May 15, 2020, the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) enforced in Metro Manila, the island of Luzon, and several other areas in the Philippines will either be retained, modified, or scaled-down as the country moves to set up the “new normal” amidst efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

It was two months ago in the middle of March when the government placed the country under community quarantine, requiring people to stay at home and effectively stopping mass gatherings, school, public transportation, and most work.

In a virtual press briefing on May 13, the government explained the differences between the levels of quarantine that will remain enforced: GCQ or General Community Quarantine, ECQ or Enhanced Community Quarantine, and MECQ or Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Following are the key points of the government briefing on the different protocols and restrictions under each level of quarantine:

EXERCISE AND SPORTS:

  • ECQ: Exercising outside of the house is not allowed.
  • MECQ: Limited outdoor exercise is allowed. Safety protocols such as wearing masks and 2-meter distancing must be observed.
  • GCQ: Limited contact sports such as golf and tennis will be allowed.

“Iyong mga contact sports (such as boxing, swimming, gymnastics, bowling, wrestling, power lifting and mixed martial arts, etc), hindi pa puwede ngayon. Maybe as we go down the road at medyo lumuwag-luwag iyong ating …puwede na iyan. But ang authorized lang ngayon ay iyong no contact sports like biking, tennis siguro and golf because they can distance themselves from each other. Iyon kasing boxing, wrestling at saka iyong ano pa diyan ay hindi … contact sports iyan, nagkakalipatan iyan at saka nag-aakapan pa. So wala pa tayong guidelines diyan dahil hindi pa authorized,” Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana explained.

(Contact sports are not allowed yet. Maybe as we go down the road, it will be allowed. But the only authorized right now is the no contact sports like biking, tennis and maybe golf because they can distance themselves from each other. Boxing, wrestling and others are still considered contact sports because they are facing and hugging each other. So we still don’t have any guidelines about that because it’s not yet authorized.)

GATHERINGS:

  • ECQ: Gatherings are not allowed.
  • MECQ: Gatherings are restricted and limited up to five persons only.
  • GCQ: Gatherings are still restricted and limited up to ten persons only.

SCHOOLS:

  • ECQ: Schools are closed.
  • MECQ: Schools are closed.
  • “Sa GCQ, skeletal workforce po to process iyong mga requirements para sa mga estudyante at saka para po magprepara sa graduation at magprepara sa susunod na semester,” Roque added.

WORK:

  • ECQ: Skeletal onsite, work-from-home, following guidelines of Civil Service Commission
  • MECQ: Skeletal workforce of government offices, work from home set up
  • GCQ: Alternative work arrangements.

“Kinakailangan nga siguro masunod iyong 40 hours of work pero may mga possibility na magkakaroon po tayo ng 4-day workweek,” said Roque.

TRAVEL:

  • ECQ: Public transportation is still suspended and international flights are limited.
  • MECQ: Public transportation is still suspended and international flights are still limited to OFWs and returning Filipinos
  • GCQ: Public transportation will be allowed and strict safe distancing shall be observed.

“Sa ngayon, mayroon na po tayong ipinapatupad na tinatawag na controlled inbound flight. Ang flight na ito ay para lang po sa ating mga returning OFW. So hindi pa po talaga open ang commercial flight; this is only open for OFW. Ang ano po natin ay more or less, 400 to 600 people lang po ang ina-allow natin or more or less two to three flights a day.” National Task Force COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez further explained.

(For now, we are enforcing controlled inbound flight. This flight is only for our returning OFWs. So the commercial flight is not really open yet; this is only open for OFW. We only allow 400 to 600 people or two or three flights a day.)

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:

  • ECQ: Public transportation is still suspended except for the shuttles that are being used by the frontliners. Bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters are not allowed.
  • MECQ: There is still no public transportation. Industries that are now allowed to operate and also subject to exceptions that will be provided by the DILG can now deploy shuttle services. Bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters are allowed but limited to 1 rider only.

“Ang mga public shuttle po eh dapat ibigay ng mga kumpanya. Kung pagmamay-ari po ng kumpanya, wala nang kinakailangan na permit sa LTFRB, pero kung sila po ay uupa ng shuttle, kinakailangang kumuha ng permit sa LTFRB.” Roque explained.

(Public shuttles should be provided by companies. If the company owns the shuttle, permit from the LTFRB is not necessary, but if they rent a shuttle, they must obtain a permit from the LTFRB.)

  • GCQ: Trains, buses, jeepneys, taxis, TNVS, tricycles, and public shuttles will be allowed but limited. Bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters are allowed.

“Iyong mga pribadong sasakyan pupuwede po iyan sa ECQ pero para po iyan makapasok iyong mga nagtatrabaho sa mga industriyang pinapayagang mag-operate at ganiyan din po ang rules sa Modified ECQ; bagamat papayagan na po siya sa GCQ.”

(In the ECQ, private cars are allowed but are limited to the employees working in the industries that are allowed to operate. The same rules are implemented in the Modified ECQ, although it will be allowed in the GCQ as well.)

“They will be allowed to operate kung sila po ay wala doon sa critical area at saka doon sa labas na zone. Pero in general, iyan po iyong mga industries, except kung iyong barangay where the factory or the business is located ay nasa critical area ay mapapasailalim pa rin po sa ECQ iyong barangay na iyon o iyong zona na iyon,” Sec. Roque explained.

Metro Manila and the National Capital Region will remain under ECQ while neighboring provinces have been placed under GCQ or MECQ.

Local government units are expected to issue specific guidelines for their own communities following the recommendations of the National Task Force.

Manila City tricycle drivers who have lost their jobs due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) have been given livelihood as Food Panda delivery crew.

Students can now avail of the “Study Now, Pay Later” program of Land Bank of the Philippines (Land Bank) amid the economic crisis brought by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

TELL US in the comments below your questions about the quarantine levels enforced in the Philippines.

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