COVID-19

Gov’t allows kids outdoors in GCQ, MGCQ areas

Pia Ranada
Gov’t allows kids outdoors in GCQ, MGCQ areas

BACK OUTSIDE. In this pre-pandemic photo, children play outdoors.

File photo by Martin Sandiego/Rappler

Outdoor areas of places like malls, which are considered mixed-use indoor/outdoor establishments, are still off-limits to children, says Malacañang
Gov’t allows kids outdoors in GCQ, MGCQ areas

The national government has decided to allow children aged five and above in outdoor areas like al fresco dining establishments, outdoor tourist sites, beaches, hiking trails, and playgrounds.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced the new policy on Friday, July 9, after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases held a meeting on Thursday.

The policy will be implemented in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), except for places under “GCQ with heightened restrictions.” For the month of July, only Cavite and Laguna are under GCQ with heightened restrictions.

Metro Manila is only under GCQ “with some restrictions.” Read the full list of current quarantine classifications here.

Where are kids allowed?

The IATF-EID defines an outdoor area as areas that “allow free air movement from all directions and may be covered by a roof, supported by posts, and not surrounded by walls.”

Here is the full list of areas where kids can go:

  • Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Beaches
  • Biking and hiking trails
  • Outdoor tourist sites as defined by Department of Tourism
  • Outdoor non-contact sports courts and venues
  • Al fresco dining establishments

However, outdoor areas of places like malls, which are considered mixed-use indoor/outdoor establishments, are still off-limits to children, said Roque.

Read the IATF-EID Resolution No. 125 here.

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When in outdoor areas, children must be supervised by adults and wear face masks. They must also observe physical distancing.

Local governments have been given the power to modify the age range of kids allowed in outdoor public places “depending on the COVID-19 situation in their respective jurisdictions,” said Roque.

The decision to lift movement restrictions for kids is part of the government’s bid to further stir economic activity. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez previously said that a big chunk of economic activity in commercial establishments is driven by families with young children.

What about face-to-face classes?

One pandemic policy related to children has so far seen no development: allowing face-to-face classes, even in areas with low COVID-19 transmissions.

The Department of Education has repeatedly proposed to begin pilot runs of physical classes only to be rejected by President Rodrigo Duterte who said he wants vaccines to be widely available first.

Duterte had rejected the most recent bid to restart physical classes due to his concerns over the Delta variant now becoming dominant in other countries. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.