EXPLAINER: What happens under general community quarantine?

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – 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.

What areas will be under GCQ? Below is a list of provinces and cities that will be under GCQ until May 15. The first batch of moderate-risk areas can still be placed under ECQ, depending on the government's assessment.

Moderate-risk areas being evaluated for GCQ or ECQ:

 Moderate-risk areas (under GCQ):

Low-risk areas (under GCQ):

What industries will be allowed to operate? Full operation is allowed for agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors, food manunfacturing and all supply chains, including ink, packaging and raw materials, supermarkets, hospitals, logistics, water, energy, internet, telecommunications, and media.

Restaurants may only open for take-out and delivery.

There can be 50%* to 100% opening for manufacturing, electronics and exports, e-commerce, and delivery for essential and non-essential items, repair and maintenance services, housing, and office services.

[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story indicated 15%. This has been corrected to 50%.]

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.

But certain operations must remain completely closed even under GCQ. 

These include "all schools," leisure, amusement, gaming and fitness, tourism, all major gatherings including religious conferences.

As for malls, there is to be "limited opening" of its operations – only non-leisure stores can open.

Only priority and essential construction work may be done, in accordance with Department of Public Works and Highways guidelines.

Can people go out? The general population may only leave their homes to access basic necessities. Still, persons aged 0 to 20 years old and those who are 60 years old and above must stay at home. People with risk factors like lung and heart disease and diabetes cannot go out.

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. But all other schools must remain closed until September 2020. However, schools can conduct online classes, subject to Department of Education guidelines.

– Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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