Sec. Año: Quarantine Passes ‘Required’ In Areas Reverted To MECQ

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Residents in areas reverted to more stringent modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) will be required anew to bring quarantine passes whenever they will get essentials outside their homes, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday.

Año made this statement after Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were again placed under MECQ to give healthcare workers much-needed breather amid the spike of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the country.

“Under MECQ, kailangan natin ng (we need) quarantine pass and pinag-usapan na namin ng mga (I’ve discussed it with) NCR [National Capital Region] mayors and tonight (Monday) may another meeting ulit kami (I have another meeting) with NCR mayors,” Año said in a radio interview.

He said only authorized persons outside residence (APOR) with quarantine pass are allowed to go out and travel.

“Kailangan lang mga necessities, essentials lang yung purpose ng paglabas at ibabalik din yung quarantine passes diyan (Necessities, essentials are the only purpose of their travel, and quarantine passes would be required again),” Año stressed.

He said mass transportation is prohibited in areas under MECQ.

“Galing naman tayo dito sa MECQ before so ganun din naman yung ipapatupad natin starting midnight tonight yung mga mass transport natin ay stop at ang papayagan natin diyan yung mga shuttle services point to point. Encourage natin yung mga paggamit ng bikes, motorcycles will be allowed (We came from MECQ before so what we will enforce is the same starting midnight tonight. We will allow the shuttle services from point to point and we encourage them to use bikes while motorcycles will be allowed],” Año said.

The tricycles, he said, will be subjected to the local government units (LGUs) guidelines.

From GCQ to MECQ, economic activities that will be prohibited starting August 4 include dine-in services in restaurants; barbershops and salons; establishments offering personal care and aesthetic procedures services; gyms, fitness studios, and sports facilities; testing and tutorial centers; review centers; internet cafes; pet grooming services; and drive-in cinemas.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the reclassification of economic activities from Category 4 to Category 3, which means some businesses only allowed in modified GCQ (MGCQ) areas are also allowed to reopen in areas under GCQ.

Gyms, fitness centers, sports facilities, testing and tutorial centers, review centers, computer shops, personal care services, pet grooming services, and the new concept of drive-in cinema were recategorized to Category 3 and were allowed to reopen their businesses last August 1.

However, with the new pronouncement of the President Rodrigo Duterte, these establishments have to close their operation again.

The IATF has also approved the recommendations from Department of Trade and Industry to increase the dine-in capacity of restaurants and fast-food establishments in GCQ and MGCQ areas, as well as expanding the services offered by barbershops and salons.

In areas under ECQ and MECQ, dining establishments are only allowed to operate their delivery and take-out services at a maximum capacity of 50 percent.

Malls and commercial centers are still allowed to open at a capacity of 50 percent subject to the guidelines issued by DTI. (PNA)

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