MCQ vs GCQ: What’s The Difference?
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Metro Manila along with Region II, Region III, Region IV-A, Albay, Pangasinan, and Davao City are set to shift from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1. This is approved by the President last May 28 as per endorsement of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). This decision is also in line with the recommendation of all the 17 mayors of the NCR to ease the quarantine restrictions currently in place.
With all the buzzwords such as ECQ, MCQ, GCQ, etc. that we have right now, it’s easy to be confused about the guidelines and orders to follow. And with the change taking effect soon, it is imperative that we know the things that we are allowed to and not allowed to do. Below is a summary of the changes we should expect.
Under MECQ or MCQ, strict stay-at-home measures were put in place. High-risk individuals including adults above 60 years old, children under 21 years old, pregnant women, people who are immunocompromised or with comorbidities, and any person who is living with the aforementioned are not allowed to go out of the house. Only those who are essential workers and those obtaining essential goods are allowed to go out of their homes.
Under GCQ, high-risk individuals who are considered vulnerable (elderly people above 60 years old) and transmitters (under 21 years old) are mandated to stay at home. Pregnant women, immunocompromised persons, and those with comorbidities and other health risks are also required to stay home unless obtaining essential goods and services, or going to work in permitted industries.
The Department of Trade and Industry issued the memorandum circular no. 2022 series of 2020 last April 30. This memorandum subdivided industries into four categories in accordance with the definition of the IATF and serves as a guide on which industries as allowed to operate under certain circumstances. All Category I industries including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, manufacturing of essential goods, hospitals, clinics, restaurants (take-out or delivery only), telecommunications, etc. are allowed to operate with safety protocols observed. You can find the full list of industries and business establishments, here.
Under MCQ, some Category II industries are also allowed to operate 100% including banks, BPOs, and capital markets. Most, however, are only partially allowed with 50% work from home and a maximum of 50% on-site work arrangement. This includes legal and accounting services, insurance, advertising, publishing, film and music productions, etc. Meanwhile, all industries under Category III are partially allowed with the exemption of barbershops and salons which are not allowed. Sectors under Category IV like gyms, sports facilities, libraries, cinemas, etc. are not allowed to operate under MECQ.
Under GCQ, all category I and II industries will be 100% allowed to operate except for hotels unless they have existing long term bookings as of May 1 or are used as temporary housing for repatriates. Industries under Category III are also allowed to fully operate except for restaurants (take-out and delivery only). Barbershops and salons are set to have limited operations (maximum of 30%, and only haircuts allowed) starting on June 7 as per IATF Resolution No. 41. All industries under Category IV are still not allowed to operate under GCQ.
All forms of public transportation were suspended under the MECQ except those public shuttles that are used to transport front-liners. Private transportation including personal vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles, and e-scooters was allowed but with reduced capacity or a maximum of 1 person.
Under GCQ, private transportation is also allowed with a reduced capacity similar to that of under MCQ. On the other hand, GCQ guidelines for public transportation will be divided and implemented into two phases. In phase 1 (June 1 – 21), trains, buses, taxis, TNVS like Grab, point-to-point buses, and bicycles will be allowed to operate but with limited capacity. Under phase 1, provincial buses will not be allowed to enter Metro Manila, and tricycles will be subject to LGU approval. In phase 2 (June 22 – 30), UV express, public utility buses, and modern PUVs will be allowed to operate but with limited capacity.
Both domestic and international flights are not allowed or limited to certain circumstances like repatriation and emergency flights under the MCQ.
The Department of Transportation announced that flights from GCQ to GCQ areas will be allowed. This is not only to facilitate mobility but also to boost domestic tourism. The DOTr also eyes on opening other airports in the country for international flights as soon as GCQ is in place to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Exercise, Gatherings, Schools, and others
Under MCQ, outdoor exercise like walking, running, jogging, and biking are allowed as long as safety protocols are observed. Gatherings are highly restricted to a maximum of 5 people. Schools are closed and only skeletal government workforce are required to report to work.
Under GCQ, outdoor exercise is allowed as well as limited contact sports like tennis and golf. Schools will remain closed as per the President’s order but the skeletal workforce is required to report to work. Alternative work arrangements or 4-day work week are to be implemented for government workers.
With all these changes expected to take place in the coming days, let us not forget to remain cautious of the things we do and the places we go to. Let us continue practicing health and safety protocols in order for us to successfully defeat the pandemic.
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