Several areas have again been placed under lockdown, or the strict enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), as the government moved to clamp down on a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The ECQ will run from March 29 to April 4, 2021, in Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan.
What can we expect from ECQ 2021?
- Essential construction works and public transportation are allowed at truncated capacity, to be determined by the Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works and Highways.
- The curfew will be longer in the NCR Plus area. It will now be from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- Shopping malls will be open but limited to essential establishments, such as those selling food and medicine.
- Restaurants are allowed to operate for take-out and deliveries.
- Travel pass will not be required.
- Convenience stores, public markets are open.
- Gatherings should be done indoors, limited to 10 people and immediate household members.
- Those below 18 and over 65 are prohibited from leaving their homes.
These guidelines were released by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
What is ECQ?
ECQ, or enhanced community quarantine, is the strictest of all forms of quarantine used in the Philippines. Under ECQ, movement is heavily restricted and limited to acquiring basic goods and services.
In 2020, the government doled out aid (ayuda) to help Filipinos during the lockdown since many were unable to work.
"Magkakaroon po tayo ng tulong na ipapamigay sa ating mga kababayan," Roque said, adding more details would be available on March 29.
Who can go out during ECQ?
Authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) can go out of their homes during ECQ. This includes a household representative who is tasked to buy food and other basic necessities during the lockdown period.
Strict stay-at-home orders are in effect during ECQ, which means that leisure travel is prohibited.
Is there public transportation during ECQ?
For the 2021 ECQ, it is allowed at truncated capacity, to be determined by the Department of Transportation.
What businesses are allowed to operate?
Businesses and industries that provide or produce basic goods and offer essential services, such as hospitals and agriculture industries, are allowed to operate at full capacity during this period.
Private establishments, media firms, and workers accredited by the Department of Transportation can operate at 50 percent capacity.
Meanwhile, the following can only operate with a skeleton workforce:
- Pharmacies, rehabilitation, dental services
- Veterinary clinics
- Banks, money transfer services
- Telecommunications companies, Internet service providers
- Manufacturing companies and suppliers
- Funeral and embalming services
- Security personnel
- Real estate activities limited to leasing only
- Capital markets
- Water supply and sanitation services and facilities
- Energy and power companies
- Philippine Postal Corporation, Philippine Statistics Authority, printing presses
- Airline and aircraft maintenance
- Necrological or funeral rites
- Machinery and equipment repair and maintenance
Tourism and leisure-related services are prohibited.
Can I go to work during ECQ?
Work-from-home arrangements are encouraged during the ECQ period. For APORs who need to physically report for work, an ID is needed.
Are mass gatherings allowed?
Mass gatherings are limited to 10 people and should be done indoors with only immediate household members.
Like in all forms of community quarantine, Filipinos are required to practice minimum health standards at all times: to wear a face mask, a face shield; to observe physical distancing and proper handwashing.
Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.