The National Economic Development Authority is calling for the immediate transition of the entire Philippines to modified general community quarantine or MGCQ by March to revitalize the economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While lockdowns across the country have been gradually eased since mid-March 2020, tighter restrictions remain in place in areas under general community quarantine or GCQ, compared to areas in MGCQ.
Here's what Filipinos can expect should the entire country transition to MGCQ:
Minimum health standards stay.
Even with a transition to MGCQ, Filipinos will still be required to adhere to minimum health standards. This means face masks and face shields will stay, and physical distancing will still be observed.
More industries can operate.
Businesses can further increase their operating capacities to as much as full capacity with the transition to MGCQ based on IATF guidelines.
For businesses operating at 75% capacity in GCQ areas, these can increase to 100% in MGCQ. For those operating at 50% in GCQ areas, these can go up to 75% in MGCQ.
Transport services will be expanded.
If approved, public utility vehicles can transport more passengers—as much as 75% of their capacity based on the recommendation of the NEDA.
At present, transport services can only ferry half of the vehicle's capacity. Physical distancing will still be enforced in all public utility vehicles.
There will be increased mobility.
More people are allowed to go out of their homes in areas under MGCQ compared to areas under GCQ.
For instance, leisure travel is allowed in MGCQ areas and the NEDA is also pushing for the further easing of age-based mobility restrictions to boost consumer spending.
More people can gather.
A transition to MGCQ from GCQ will also increase the number of allowed participants in mass gatherings to as much as 75% from the prevailing 50%.
This means that places of worship, such as churches, can accommodate more people at a time.
Tourism gets a boost.
Tourism and leisure activities are allowed in all areas under MGCQ.
While the government's inter-agency task force for COVID-19 response made an exemption to allow staycations in select accredited hotels in Metro Manila, a shift to MGCQ would give the hospitality industry more room to market their services.
But even though the government pushes through with the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the threat of the virus still lurks as reminded by the Department of Health, which means that strict adherence to minimum health standards is a must at all times.