The National Capital Region (NCR) will see shortened curfew hours when the metropolis shifts to the pilot implementation of a new lockdown scheme on Thursday, September 16.
"Ang implementasyon nito ay isasabay sa pilot. Magiging 10 pm hanggang 4 am," Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos said during a Malacañang briefing on Tuesday, September 14.
(The implementation of new curfew hours of 10 pm to 4 am will be simultaneous with the pilot run of the new lockdown scheme.)
Metro Manila has been under an eight-hour curfew – from 8 pm to 4 am – since the region was placed on hard lockdown on August 6.
The urban sprawl of around 14 million people will transition to the less stringent general community quarantine (GCQ) on Thursday, but a new alert level system will determine whether certain establishments would remain closed or reopened at specific capacity.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday morning that the region would be placed under Alert Level 4 due to the still alarming COVID-19 situation there.
"The DOH explained that NCR is currently at high-risk case classification while intensive care utilization is also under high-risk classification," the health department said in a statement.
Under GCQ with Alert Level 4, travel is allowed for everyone except minors, senior citizens aged 65 and above, persons with comorbidities, and pregnant women.
But movement is restricted once a person's area is placed under granular lockdown, which local governments will utilize more under the new lockdown system.
Dine-in services and some personal care services are also allowed at 30% capacity outdoors. They may conduct indoor operations at 10% capacity for fully vaccinated individuals.
The change in policy comes as the government attempts to balance two priorities: economy and public health.
Metro Manila, however, is struggling to contain the highly infectious Delta variant, with active COVID-19 cases in the region topping 51,000 as of Monday, September 13.