LIST: What daily life would be like in areas under modified ECQ, GCQ

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 14) – Millions of Filipinos will break free from strict stay-at-home rules beginning Saturday, May 16, as most provinces shift to relaxed or even lifted quarantine rules.

How will daily life – dubbed as the "new normal" – change in areas under a "modified" enhanced community quarantine and general community quarantine?

Areas under modified ECQ

- Metro Manila

- Laguna

- Bataan

- Bulacan

- Nueva Ecija

- Pampanga

- Angeles City

- Zambales

"Bubuksan natin unti-unti ang ekonomiya [We will gradually reopen the economy]," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing on Tuesday noon. He explained that the key difference under the modified ECQ scheme is that select manufacturing and processing plants will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity, allowing workers to return to their jobs after two months under lockdown. 

On Wednesday, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has announced a long list of businesses which it will allow to reopen even in areas under modified ECQ, which include non-leisure stores inside shopping malls. Essential and priority public and private construction projects may continue, as long as contractors provide safety gear, free rides and accommodation facilities for laborers.

LIST: Businesses allowed to reopen in Metro Manila, areas under modified ECQ by May 16

"Kung hindi naman po kaya talaga ng kumpanya na magbigay ng shuttle o kung walang sasakyan iyong kanilang mga empleyado, huwag na po munang magbukas dahil mas importante na ma-avoid po natin, maiwasan iyong second wave na tinatawag [If the company cannot provide shuttle services or their employees do not have cars, then they should not reopen yet because we need to avoid a second wave of cases]," Roque said in a Thursday briefing. 

All residents are still required to stay home except for those reporting to work or securing essential supplies. There will be limited public transport, while crossing over to other regions is still banned.

READ: Passes still needed in areas under quarantine, curfews still in effect — DILG

According to Roque's presentation Wednesday, public and company shuttles will be allowed alongside private cars, provided that these will carry only workers in critical sectors at two persons per row. Bicycles, motorcycles, and e-scooters will be allowed but should only carry the driver. Backrides are prohibited.

Jogging, running, and biking will be allowed starting Saturday, provided that people wear masks and keep a two-meter distance – farther than usual – from other people while exercising outdoors, Roque said.

Gatherings will be allowed but for a maximum of five people, who must all wear masks, practice good hygiene and observe physical distancing. These are still considered as high-risk areas with the biggest chance of additional infections.

Classes at all levels nationwide are still suspended.

Areas to remain under ECQ

- Cebu City

- Mandaue City

Local government units were authorized to place select barangays or areas may ask to be included under ECQ based on the number of cases.

Roque said areas considered as "critical zones" are those with more than 20 cases per 100,000 residents; while containment zones have between 1-19 cases per 100,000 population. Both may be placed under ECQ upon the approval of the regional Inter-Agency Task Force.

Barangays contiguous to these areas but have no infections are dubbed as "buffer zones" and may follow GCQ standards. Communities outside buffer zones that have no confirmed cases, meanwhile, must follow modified GCQ rules – a more liberal setup which simply requires the observance of social distancing and proper hygiene.

There will be limited movement of people while economic activity is limited to critical services like utilities and food. There is no public transportation or conduct of physical classes, Roque said, except for company shuttle service and personal cars used by workers in permitted sectors.

Proposed zoning measures are being finalized by the IATF, Department of Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire added. Mayors and governors will have authority to declare which areas are considered as "critical" and "containment" zones, which may be placed under typical lockdown measures regardless of the quarantine status of the province or region where they belong.

Areas under GCQ

- Cordillera Administrative Region: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Baguio City

- Region 1: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Dagupan City

- Region 2: Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Santiago City

- Region 3: Aurora, Tarlac, Olongapo City

- Region 4-A: Cavite, Quezon, Rizal, Batangas, Lucena City

- Region 4-B: Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Puerto Princesa City

- Region 5: Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, Legazpi City, Naga City

- Region 6: Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Iloilo City, Bacolod City

- Region 7: Bohol, Cebu province, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Lapu-Lapu City

- Region 8: Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Southern Leyte, Ormoc City, Tacloban City

- Region 9: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City, Isabela City

- Region 10: Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City

- Region 11: Davao City, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental

- Region 12: North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, General Santos City

- CARAGA: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Butuan City

- BARMM: Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato City

The IATF announced Thursday that provinces and cities previously classified as "low-risk areas" will still be under general community quarantine for May 16-31, taking back earlier announcements that most restrictions will be lifted in these areas.

Residents in GCQ areas will be allowed to head out, except for those aged below 21 as well as those 60 and older to limit infections.

There is some leeway to socialize in GCQ areas, with some gatherings of 10 people or less allowed under the rules. People can also return to playing sports with limited contact, such as golf, tennis, and cycling and get around town. However, gyms and sports facilities will remain padlocked.

People looking to have a haircut and get rest and recreation in a salon or spa will need to wait longer as the IATF took back its earlier announcement that salons and barbershops may open in GCQ areas. However, Roque said this is under review by the Trade Department.

Government offices will be allowed to reopen, ​but alternative work arrangements are encouraged, like squeezing duty to a four-day workweek. More industries can reopen at full capacity, although Roque stressed that work-from-home should be the norm for now.

Firms engaged in entertainment as well as those catering to the youth must remain shut.

​Public transportation will resume, but expect jeepneys and buses to run below full capacity to adhere to safe distancing. Traveling to and from provinces and cities which are under GCQ will be permitted.

Families living in GCQ provinces who received cash aid in April are no longer entitled to a second tranche this month. Roque said the funds will instead go to struggling households that remain under modified ECQ.

A skeleton workforce is allowed to process student requirements and to prepare for the succeeding semester or school year, but face-to-face classes cannot resume yet.

READ: School year 2020-21 to formally begin on August 24, says DepEd chief

The IATF has taken back its classification of a modified GCQ, where residents can return to their normal day-to-day routine but must practice minimum health standards which entail regular hand-washing and disinfection, physical distancing, and the isolation of probable cases at all times.

Epidemiologist Dr. John Wong has said that while Metro Manila is the epicenter of the local outbreak, authorities must pay close attention to the Visayas which is an emerging "hotspot" for infections.

All provinces and cities ​can appeal until Wednesday their classification to the IATF screening and validation committee, with the concurrence of regional task force units. The Department of Health stressed that minimum health standards must be followed at all times.