MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – There’s a new buzzword in the Philippine response to the novel coronavirus: “general community quarantine” or GCQ.
GCQ is a form of quarantine with more relaxed measures compared to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). It will be enforced in provinces and cities considered to have moderate or low risk to COVID-19.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque introduced this term in his taped public address aired on Friday, April 24.
He also explained what GCQ means to daily lives of Filipinos, as recommended by the government’s coronavirus taskforce and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a later press briefing, on Tuesday, April 28, Roque gave more details on the GCQ. This article has been updated to reflect this information.
What areas will be under GCQ? Below is a list of provinces and cities that will be under GCQ from May 1 until May 15.
- Ilocos Norte
- La Union
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Camarines Sur
- Western Samar
- Zamboanga del Sur
- Lanao del Norte
- Misamis Occidental
- Misamis Oriental
- North Cotabato
- South Cotabato
- Davao del Norte
- Davao de Oro
- Negros Occidental
- Negros Oriental
- Davao del Sur
- Davao Oriental
- Sultan Kudarat
- Lanao del Sur
Low-risk areas under GCQ:
- Mountain Province
- Ilocos Sur
- Camarines Norte
- Eastern Samar
- Northern Samar
- Southern Leyte
- Zamboanga del Norte
- Zamboanga Sibugay
- Davao Occidental
- Agusan del Sur
- Dinagat Island
- Surigao del Norte
- Surigao del Sur
- Agusan del Norte
What industries will be allowed to operate? Full operation is allowed for agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors, food manufacturing and all supply chains, including ink, packaging and raw materials, supermarkets, hygiene products, hospitals, medical clinics, veterinary clinics, logistics, water, banks, energy, internet, telecommunications, and media.
There can be 50%* to 100% opening for the following manufacturing activities [Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story indicated 15%. This has been corrected to 50%.]:
- beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
- cement and steel
- electrical machinery
- wood products, furniture
- non-metallic products
- textiles and apparel
- tobacco products
- paper and paper products
- rubber and plastic products
- refined petroleum products
- other non-metallic mineral products
- computer, electronic, and optical products
- electrical equipment
- machinery and equipment
- motor vehicles, traliers, and semi-trailers
- other transport equipment
- delivery for essential and non-essential items
- repair and maintenance services
- housing and office services
As for financial services, business process outsourcing (BPO), non-leisure wholesale and retail trade, and other non-leisure services, 50% onsite work and 50% work from home is allowed.
What establishments can operate? The following stores in malls or commercial centers can open:
- hardware stores
- clothing and accessory stores
- barbershops, salon, spas, and other personal care industries
- restaurants for take-out and delivery only
Only priority and essential construction work may be done, in accordance with Department of Public Works and Highways guidelines.
What’s still not allowed? Establishments considered “leisure” must remain completely closed even under GCQ. Certain activities are also still not allowed.
- gyms, fitness studios, sports facilities
- bars, pubs
- sports-related mass gatherings like trainings, games, tournaments
- theaters, cinemas
- libraries, museums, archives, and other cultural activities
- religious gatherings
- travel agency, tour operator, reservation service, and related activities
- work-related gatherings
- trade shows, conferences, conventions, workshops, retreats
- election rallies, polling centers, parades, speeches
Can people go out? Persons aged 0 to 20 years old and those who are 60 years old and above must stay at home, except if they need to go out to get essential items. Another exception is if they must report to work for industries that are allowed under GCQ.
Local government units are ordered to enforce a night curfew for non-workers.
What about transportation? Mass transportation will resume but only at a limited capacity.
Airports and seaports may operate, but only to ensure the unhampered flow of goods.
What about school? Higher educational institutions can finish the academic year and hand out credentials. Starting May 4, these colleges and universities can deploy a skeletal workforce to do just this, as well as to prepare for flexible learning arrangements for the next school year.
But all other schools must remain closed until September 2020. However, schools can conduct online classes, subject to Department of Education guidelines.
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