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This Week in Metro Manila (March 27 to April 2, 2021)

Metro Manila and nearby provinces see stricter quarantine protocols as infections rise.

By: Denisse Shawntel Tan | March 27, 2021
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Metro Manila, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccines in Metro Manila, quarantine in Metro Manila, frontliners, vaccination, transportation, general community quarantine in Metro Manila, immunization, health workers in Metro Manila, land transportation in Metro Manila, quarantine protocols, healthcare workers

As the number of daily COVID-19 cases continues to increase, the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) placed Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal back to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) until April 4. Because of the GCQ, restrictions are again implemented. For one, recreational establishments are closed, and motorists are notified of quarantine control points in borders of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. When it comes to health news, the Department of Health (DOH) warned non-frontliners who are jumping COVID-19 immunization queue. Lastly, Holy Week celebrations are postponed again for another year in the whole country.

Quarantine Updates: Nearby provinces in Metro Manila placed under GCQ until April 4

Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) placed nearby provinces in Metro Manila under GCQ from March 22 to April 4, 2021. Along with Metro Manila, other areas now under GCQ are Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal—as a group, the areas as referred to as ‘NCR Plus.’

Under the general community quarantine in Metro Manila and the four other provinces, a “travel bubble” will be implemented, which means that residents are only allowed to travel within the area of their residences. Travelling in and out of GCQ areas is also prohibited. Exempted from the travel bubble are authorized persons outside residences (APORs) like essential workers, frontliners, and health workers in Metro Manila. Employees who cross borders for work will also be allowed as long as they present a valid ID that shows proof of residence [1].

Under quarantine protocols, a curfew will also be in effect from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM with the exemption of public transportation, cargo vehicles, and workers. Meanwhile, in terms of land transportation in Metro Manila, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that the transportation capacity will remain the same as long vehicles follow minimum health standards. For flights, only essential travels will be allowed. Meanwhile, physical exercising such as walking and biking will still be allowed, and mass gatherings will be allowed for only a maximum of 10 persons. Restaurant dine-in is also allowed as long as it is done in an outdoor setting. Lastly, persons below 18 years old and above 65 are prohibited from going outside, and households are also not allowed to accept guests aside from immediate family members or relatives.

COMELEC shortens registration hours

In response to the GCQ, the Commission on Elections (COMEC) limited their operating hours in their offices. The COMELEC will now be operational from Mondays to Thursdays at 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM under a skeletal workforce to comply with the 50% operational capacity. Fridays will be the designated disinfection day. Registrants are advised to follow health and safety protocols in all COMELEC offices. Applicants are also encouraged to register via Registrants who have made prior appointments on affected days (Fridays and Saturdays) are advised to contact the Offices of the Elections Officer (OEOs) for rebooking instructions [2].

Holy Week activities postponed for a second year

Holy Week festivities are postponed for a second year due to the alarming surge of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila. Since the latest IATF resolution prevents mass gatherings like religious activities until April 4, Filipino Catholics will have to postpone their holy week activities. Prior to the IATF announcement, Catholic bishops already campaigned for the suspension of church activities for two weeks, including Holy Week [3]. Because of this, several dioceses in Metro Manila, like the Dioceses of Novaliches and Cubao, will close their churches during the GCQ period. Parishes also urged devotees to practice their faith at home [4].

Traffic News

PNP sets quarantine control points along Metro Manila borders

As part of the recent IATF resolution, a travel bubble will be implemented in GCQ areas. To make sure that this will be followed, the Philippine National Police (PNP) placed quarantine control points (QCP) in Metro Manila borders as well as surrounding provinces [5]. Along with the QCPs, over 300 checkpoints were placed all over Metro Manila to monitor residents during curfew hours.

Travel Updates

Major airlines will only allow essential flights

Major airlines in the Philippines are now prohibiting non-essential flights for the entire duration of the GCQ. Those who have pre-booked flights before the GCQ announcement can rebook, refund, or exchange their tickets for a two-year travel voucher [6].

Shopping News

Metro Manila malls adjust operating hours during GCQ

Malls in GCQ areas also adjusted their mall hours to comply with the curfew rules and other IATF protocols. The schedules vary depending on the mall [7]. The updated operating hours are as follows:

8:00AM to 8:00PM
• SM Aura Supermarket

8:00AM to 9:00PM
• Robinsons Forum Supermarket
• Robinsons Place Manila Supermarket

9:00AM to 8:00PM
• Metro Supermarket
• SM City Marikina Supermarket

10:00AM to 7:00PM
● Greenhills Mall (Monday to Thursday)

10:00AM to 8:00PM
• Ali Mall
• Ayala Malls Manila Bay (Friday to Sunday)
• Ayala Malls Marikina
• Estancia Mall
• Farmers Plaza
• Gateway Mall
• Glorietta
• Greenhills Mall (Friday to Sunday)
• Market! Market!
• Power Plant Mall (Saturday and Sundays only)
• Riverbanks Mall
• Robinsons Forum
• Robinsons Magnolia (Friday to Sunday)
• SM Aura
• SM City Fairview
• SM City Fairview Hypermarket
• SM City Marikina
• SM City North EDSA
• SM Mall of Asia
• SM Megamall
• Santolan Town Plaza (Saturday to Sunday)
• The Podium
• Trinoma
• UP Town Center

11:00AM to 8:00PM
• Ayala Malls Feliz
• Ayala Malls Manila Bay (Monday to Thursday)
• Ayala Vertis North
• Power Plant Mall (Monday to Friday)
• Robinsons Magnolia (Monday to Thursday)
• Santolan Town Plaza (Monday to Friday)
• Shangri-La Plaza

Health News

DOH warns non-frontliners jumping queues for COVID-19 vaccines

The Department of Health (DOH) announced that there are non-frontliners who are jumping queues for COVID-19 vaccines in Metro Manila and other areas. DOH said that queue jumping should be avoided since there’s already a vaccine priority in the vaccination process. The fines and penalties of violators are not indicated by DOH Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, but he said that it will depend on the IATF and the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group [8].

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) previously rolled out the vaccination priority which puts healthcare workers first, followed by the elderly and persons with comorbidities.

Go to Yoorekka for more COVID-19 updates and status of the quarantine in Metro Manila.

All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. While we are doing our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable and the situation develops rapidly, so it’s possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.

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About Denisse Shawntel Tan
Denisse Tan is currently a work in progress: she’s an aspiring writer, artist, and fashion designer! She’s trying to figure out how to manage her time in achieving all of her goals while also taking in life as humanly possible. Aside from art, she’s a big fan of the color pink, disco music, Bratz dolls, and Genshin Impact. By age 35, she plans to travel to New York City 🗽.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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