LOOK: What Metro Manila looked like on our first day back to work

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As millions of people go back to work, Metro Manila faces the challenges of the new normal in the time of social distancing. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Metro Manila has finally eased into a moderated enhanced community quarantine since May 16 and as expected traffic has once again returned. People came in droves to reopened shopping centers and malls — as if the pandemic doesn’t exist anymore.

But on Monday, employees who had to return to work faced a more difficult challenge with public transport still suspended. Those with private vehicles had to contend with a traffic buildup and checkpoints while those without had to walk or even cross highways just so they could get to their workplaces.

On top of this problem, there is still the threat of contracting coronavirus. Testing employees should be shouldered by employers as per the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), though it is not required.

"We have emphasized that symptomatic screening is ideal, and test only when symptomatic. IATF resolution stated that in no case shall testing be a condition for return to work,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a Viber message to reporters.

Here are scenes from around Metro Manila throughout the day.

Some groceries and other open establishments maintain social distancing. Photo by JL JAVIER

The EDSA-Ayala intersection at 12 p.m. Photo by JL JAVIER

Fruit vendors along Felipe II St. in Manila wait for customers. Photo by JL JAVIER

A customer waits at a bench in a mall in Pasay. Photo by JL JAVIER

Electronics repair stores are now allowed to open during MECQ. Photo by JL JAVIER

At a mall in Manila City, security personnel still heavily screen and monitor shoppers looking to enter the premises. Photo by JL JAVIER

Hardware shops are now open as well. Photo by JL JAVIER

An ambulance maneuvers through light traffic at the EDSA-Shaw Underpass in Mandaluyong City. Photo by JL JAVIER

Some small businesses have also opted to open today as the government lifts several restrictions from the ECQ to stimulate the economy. Photo by JL JAVIER

Checkpoints are still stationed along major roads in Metro Manila to monitor motorists’ identification and permits. Photo by JL JAVIER

Some businesses are still closed despite relaxed quarantine measures in NCR. Photo by JL JAVIER

Grocery workers wear face shields while performing their tasks around the supermarket. Photo by JL JAVIER

This scene at a mall in Pasay City is a stark contrast to the crowded malls during the weekend when the quarantine rules were eased. Photo by JL JAVIER

Heavy traffic builds up at rush hour along Coastal Road, Parañaque City. Photo by JL JAVIER