COVID-19 Crisis: Face shields no longer mandatory in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3

It took a long time to happen but it finally happened at last and will surely provide people relief from the so-called protective but inconvenient face shields. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommended lifting of the mandatory use of face shields specifically in areas under Alert Level 1, 2 and 3, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended the lifting in response to the much-improved situations (note: low daily counts of new COVID-19 infections and the continued rise of people getting vaccinated) of the nation under the pandemic. Be reminded that prior to this new development, there was a collective push to make face shields non-mandatory in Metro Manila.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency report. Some parts in boldface…

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to lift the mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Level 1 to 3.

“Ang decision ko is okay, tanggalin nyo na yung [face] shields. Pwede na ninyong (My decision is okay, you can remove face shields. You can), you dispense with the shields but not the (face) mask,” Duterte said in his prerecorded “Talk to the People”.

Duterte said face mask would remain part of the day-to-day safety measure “kasi matagal pa itong virus na nasa hangin lang (because the virus which is airborne will be here for a long time).”

He urged the public to make sure that the Covid-19 positivity rate in the country will continue to go down by following the health and safety protocols.

“You have to obey what the government will tell you to do because it’s for the good of the country and for you. Sumunod lang kayo (Just obey),” he said.

On Monday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum detailing the voluntary use of face shields in places with a relatively low Covid-19 alert level.

According to the memorandum, the use of face shields in community settings shall remain mandatory in areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns.

For places under Alert Level 4, local government units and private establishments are given the discretion to maintain or remove the wearing of face shields policy.

People residing in places under alert levels 3, 2, and 1 can voluntarily use the face shields as their added protection.

“The above protocols are without prejudice to the continuing mandatory use of face shields in medical and quarantine facility settings, and the required use thereof by healthcare workers in healthcare settings,” the order read.

The IATF-EID on Dec. 14, 2020 issued Resolution 88, requiring all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public places to control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Based on the above details, for as long as an area is under Alert Level 3 and lower, face shields are no longer mandatory. Just optional. While a lot of face shields believers out there expressed that the said items are highly protective and prevent COVID-19 from entering people’s eyes, face shields are always inconvenient as they obscure people’s visions and make verbal communication even harder. Try talking to someone while you are wearing both a face mask (which itself muffles your speaking) and a face shield.

As long as COVID-19 infections are low and as long as people practice caution, walking around and doing your objectives without face shields can be done in areas under Alert Level 1-3. With the recent change, I encourage you to pay close attention to your own locality and also observe how the Metro Manila mayors and the MMDA will act and think now that face shields are no longer required in areas under Alert Level 1-3.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you relieved that face shields are no longer mandatory in areas under Alert Level 1-3? How much money did you spend on face shields since the start of the pandemic? How many face shields do you have right now?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

I Love Israel: Israel to host Filipino experts and share to them technologies and strategies to deal with COVID-19 more effectively

This past July, I blogged about the confirmation of the exchange of scientists between the Philippines and Israel which itself is related to the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and the development of ways to recover from the pandemic with regards to public health, society and the economy.

Very recently, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that the State of Israel will push through with hosting Filipino experts and orient them with the ways and means on tackling COVID-19.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the very short PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The Israeli government is looking forward to hosting a group of Filipino experts to share firsthand its strategies and technologies in effectively dealing with the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The planned visit was revealed by Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss on Thursday during the “Dealing with Delta and other Pandemic Challenges Lessons” forum organized by the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Israel has innovations and quite a lot of new developments and we’d like to share (these) with the Philippines and this delegation, who we hope will visit this November. (They) would be able to see with their own eyes what are the opportunities and we’d be happy to share them,” he said.

Last July, a team of Israeli medical experts also visited Manila to share their success in the national vaccination campaign, which was followed by another group in August.

The second delegation gave their recommendations on ways to further improve systems and procedures in handling Covid-19 patients, including infection control protocols and hospital management.

Israel has been hailed for its rapid vaccination drive, successfully inoculating 70.7 percent of its population as of October 19.

It was also among the first countries to rollout booster shots after experiencing a dramatic increase in its Covid-19 cases last June and July despite the number of its fully vaccinated citizens.

Although the Delta outbreak is still not over, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett earlier said Israel is now starting to overcome this wave, giving credit to the country’s pandemic management strategies including the aggressive booster campaign and introduction of “green pass” for fully inoculated individuals to access events and facilities like cinemas, hotels, etc.

In the Thursday forum, infectious diseases and Covid-19 specialist Guy Chosen noted that booster shots have now become Israel’s “main mitigation tool” against the Delta variant.

“[W]e could continue and operate our commercial life, our cultural life, sports events, education system during the fourth Delta wave thanks to the rollout and effectiveness of the third dose, the booster campaign,” he said.

Citing a research published on medRxiv this October, Chosen said the rate of coronavirus infection and severe illness across all age groups was “substantially lower among those who received a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.”

The above details are wonderful. Filipinos need all the help and expertise they can get from their Israeli counterparts. Take note that these past few months, things were hard for millions of residents of Metro Manila as they struggled under the decisions and tactics of the local, metropolitan and national authorities. I’m talking about the most recent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila (favored by the Metro Manila mayors who even set terms for the national government to provide assistance) that took effect shortly after the general community quarantine (GCQ) was declared. There was also the sudden ban on outdoor exercise approved by Metro Manila’s mayors as well as the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) flip-flop that affected many in the metropolis which caused the mayor of Marikina City to react.

Since the sudden Metro Manila ECQ of August and the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) that followed, economic damage happened once again as people lost their jobs and income, and businesses struggled with the added difficulty as a result of the restrictions on capacity of customers and on their operations. Fortunately, a revision of the community quarantine and management happened using the alert levels approach which came into effect this past September.

Since October 16, 2021, the restrictions on Metro Manila were downgraded to Alert Level 3 and the result was more customers flocking to businesses which I personally witnessed in Muntinlupa City. Similar boost of economic activities, vehicular traffic and people moving around were also seen in other parts of the metropolis. As of this writing, things are looking better as the daily number of new COVID-19 infections went below 10,000 and more people got vaccinated. In recent times, the mayor of Las Piñas City stated that herd immunity is within reach based on their statistics on COVID-19 vaccination.

Going back to Israel, I am thankful to our Lord for their generosity and willingness to help the Philippines in the fight against COVID-19 as well as developing ways to recover from the effects of the pandemic. I hope that the authorities there in Israel will take a closer look at the situation of Metro Manila and examine how the top officials of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) think and act when it comes to COVID-19. These local government and metropolitan authorities can use the help of Israel on managing people, their communities better than before.

As for the Filipino scientists who will be hosted by the State of Israel, our entire nation’s health is at stake and what they will learn will be crucial. For those reading this, I urge you to support Israel-Philippines relations.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel!

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

COVID-19 Crisis: Increased consumer traffic and economic activities seen in Muntinlupa City on first day of Alert Level 3

Since Metro Manila officially shifted into Alert Level 3 this past Saturday, there was indeed an increase of the number of people who visited the restaurants, the shopping malls and other places in the City of Muntinlupa which is the result of the easing of restrictions. What the Manila Bulletin reported, I myself confirm it is true. That being said, the local food and beverage businesses now have a better chance to recover as there are more people of Muntinlupa who got fully vaccinated and the relaxed rules on their operations provided a lot more freedom.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

There was an increase in the number of people in restaurants, malls and parks in Muntinlupa on Oct. 16, the first day of the implementation of Alert Level 3 in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) downgraded the alert level in NCR from 4 to 3, which took effect on Oct. 16 and will last on Oct. 31.

Under Alert Level 3, more business establishments and activities are allowed to operate including cinemas.

According to Muntinlupa police chief, Col. Melecio Buslig, because of the downgraded alert level in Muntinlupa, there was an “abrupt increase” in individuals eating in dine-in restaurants and going to malls, parks, and other places of convergence.

He also said there was an increase in public and private vehicles on major thoroughfares, and an increase in the number of commuters in transport terminals.

Heavy traffic was observed from Muntinlupa to Binan, Laguna from Saturday afternoon to evening as more vehicles were on the road.

Shopping malls in Muntinlupa adjusted their operating hours due to the new alert level. SM Center Muntinlupa now operates from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Starmall Alabang announced that until Oct. 31, its mall hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. from Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Saturday to Sunday.

Customers aged 18 to 65 years old only are allowed in the mall. Supermarket, drug stores, convenience stores, banks, courier services, money changer & remittance services, ATM centers, hardware & home essentials are open. Restaurants & food establishments are open for al fresco dining at 50% capacity and indoor dining at 30% capacity for fully vaccinated customers only. They are also open for pick-up, takeout and delivery,” it said.

The mall added that “pet shops, book stores, IT shops, toy stores, fashion and retail shops are open. Beauty salons, barber shops, and nail spas are open at 50% capacity if conducted outdoor and at 30% indoor capacity for fully vaccinated customers only. Recreational venues such as arcades, bowling alleys, cinemas, and similar venues are open at 30% capacity for fully vaccinated customers only.

In relation to the above news report, I can confirm that during my visit at Molito here in Alabang on Saturday I saw more people eating outdoors at a few restaurants I passed by and there was a long line of customers at a certain Japanese restaurant nearby. During my visit at Festival Mall on Sunday (2nd day of Alert Level 3) in the late morning, I noticed the crowd of people was light (note: the mall opened at 11AM) but I noticed more customers flocking to the restaurants and coffee shops than before. For the newcomers reading this, to dine in or seat in a food/beverage joint, you must be fully vaccinated with evidence shown and you must use the StaySafe.ph app for online contact tracing. With a lot more people vaccinated fully (2 doses of vaccines of different brands or with the single dose of the Janssen vaccine) already, there is a huge market of customers for the food/beverage joints to cater to indoors. Alert Level 3 also paves the way for people to worship the Lord at church venues both indoors and outdoors.

Alert Level 3 is still far away from achieving pre-pandemic conditions but it sure is much better not only for businesses but also for the people who have gotten tired of the restrictions of Alert Level 4, the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and the dreaded enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Alert Level 3 is a positive development and we should thank our Lord and glorify Him for the breakthrough as it is a crucial step towards normalcy and socio-economic recovery!

Residents of Muntinlupa City who remain unregistered and unvaccinated should make a move to get registered by learning the ways to do it. Those who are prepared (with personal information available) and willing to go through online registration for the free vaccines in Muntinlupa are encouraged to click https://vaccine.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/muncovac/

Muntinlupa minors may register online through the city’s COVID-19 vaccination registration system at www.vaccine.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/muncovac and choose category “C – Rest of Population.”

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what do you think about this latest local development?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 from October 16 to 31, 2021

Finally, business and residents of Metro Manila will be dealing with lesser restrictions as the national authorities declared that the metropolis will be under Alert Level 3 (previously Alert Level 4 from mid-September to mid-October) from October 16 to October 31, 2021 as reported by Philippine News Agency (PNA). Lesser restrictions should mean more reopening of the economy, more people can attend indoor worship services at churches (note: being vaccinated may be required) and more.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

The alert level status in Metro Manila will be downgraded to Alert Level 3 from the current Alert Level 4 beginning Oct. 16, Malacañang announced Wednesday.

This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) decided to ease restrictions in Metro Manila, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, approved the recommendation to place the National Capital Region under Alert Level 3 beginning October 16, 2021 until October 31, 2021,” said Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson.

He said the IATF-EID also approved and adopted the revisions to the Guidelines on the Implementation of Alert Levels System for Covid-19 Response in the Pilot Areas.

A copy of the new guidelines has yet to be made public.

Metro Manila’s shift to Alert Level 3 came amid the drop in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections in the country’s metropolis.

The relaxation of alert level in Metro Manila will pave the way for the reopening of more businesses.

Now watch this related news video from GMA Network…

Staycation in Metro Manila allowed to resume

The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced that staycation within Metro Manila will be allowed under Alert Level 3, specifically in accredited hotels. Unsurprisingly there are certain limitations.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

Staycation is now allowed in accredited Metro Manila hotels as the region eases to Alert Level 3 from October 16 until the end of the month, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Thursday.

Individuals of all ages may check-in for staycation. However, to ensure safety of all guests, only those 18 years old and above who are fully vaccinated shall be allowed to book their stay,” the DOT said.

Under the amended guidelines, only DOT-accredited staycation hotels with government-issued safety seal certification will be allowed to accommodate staycation guests.

Cinemas in Metro Manila cleared to resume operations

Speaking of the reopening of businesses, cinemas in Metro Manila have been cleared to resume their operations but with a set of limitations. Still, this is indeed a breakthrough because Metro Manila cinemas have been closed (note: use of cinemas as temporary vaccination sites do not count as operations) for a very long time and the nation’s cinema industry had an estimated 300,000 employees. Take note that months ago, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) announced that it has allowed a variety of businesses around the Philippines to resume operations to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and cinemas were among those businesses. However the mayors of Metro Manila opposed the decision.

To put things in perspective regarding the newest development, posted below is an excerpt from the Philippine Daily Inquirer report. Some parts in boldface…

Cinemas and movie houses may already operate when Metro Manila eases to Alert Level 3 starting Saturday, October 16.

Under the updated guidelines on the pilot implementation of the government’s new COVID-19 alert level system, cinemas and movie houses are allowed to operate under Alert Level 3 at a maximum of 30% indoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and 50% outdoor venue capacity.

All cinemas and movie house workers and employees should also be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as minimum public health standards should be strictly followed.

Personally, I am glad that cinemas have been cleared to reopen within Metro Manila as the metropolis itself is the single largest region where movie theaters are located at and it should add to the economic recovery our nation badly needs. The cinema operators and their employees have suffered way too long! That being said, I urge you to observe how the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will react to the clearance for the reopening of cinemas. Will the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and MMDA oppose the IATF and keep the cinemas shut down again knowing that many of their constituents have been vaccinated over the past several months? We will find out soon enough.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? If you are a business owner who badly needs customers to avail of services indoors, are the approved standards for Alert Level 3 good enough? If you want to worship the Lord on Sunday during worship services indoors at your local church, were the mentioned changes good enough? What do you plan to do once your local cinema reopens?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: DTI keeps pushing on for businesses to be open on all alert levels

The road to full economic recovery during this COVID-19 pandemic remains rough and bumpy as the national and local authorities continue to struggle between health and economics. The last enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila were very damaging to the economy as a whole. Fortunately for the businesses and the employees, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) continues to push hard for economic recovery as a new proposal was made to allow all businesses to remain open at all alert levels with varying limits on capacity according to a recent Philippine News Agency (PNA) report.

From September 16 to September 30, 2021, Metro Manila was placed under Alert Level 4 of the new system of quarantine (which includes granular lockdowns) and during this particular period, businesses were literally given some breathing room as personal care service joints and restaurants were allowed accommodate vaccinated customers to spend time inside their respective locations but with specific limits on in-door capacity. DTI is pushing for something better economically.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is proposing to allow all businesses to remain open at all alert levels but varying operating capacities.

The idea is business activities, economic activities should continue at all alert levels and you just change the operating capacity. So at least there is still (business) continuity,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said in an interview with ABS CBN News Channel (ANC) Thursday.

He added that operating capacity should be reduced when an area reached Alert Level 4.

Under Alert Level 4, indoor dine-in and personal care services are allowed at 10 percent capacity for fully vaccinated customers only, while outdoor dine-in and personal care services can operate up to 30 percent operating capacity.

“So there’s containment, there are a bit of more restrictions, but at least you allow the business activities to continue,” Lopez added.

The trade chief is also hopeful that the alert level system in Metro Manila will ease to Alert Level 3 starting Friday.

Lopez said some 76,000 to 80,000 businesses did not operate even under the alert level system since the current protocol does not allow some sectors to operate.

Moreover, he said DTI is pushing for the inclusion of gym operations in Alert Level 4 considering that fitness clubs and centers are essential businesses.

“We’ve been arguing that exercise is really one vital activity to increase their immunity level. In fact, they allowed outdoor exercise at all levels. We were just saying, for indoors, we just manage it,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the DTI stands ready to assist enterprises as the agency continues to offer financing packages to businesses affected by the pandemic.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the DTI’s latest move to improve the economic situation? If you are a business owner who has at least ten employees to take care of, what do you think the DTI, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) should do to make things better for doing business in Metro Manila? Do you believe that the people responsible for the last ECQ and MECQ in Metro Manila cared about hot issues like unemployment, loss of income and business closures?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Metro Manila still under Alert Level 4 until October 15, 2021

In case you missed the news, the national authorities extended the Alert Level 4 status on the entire Metro Manila until October 15, 2021, according to a Manila Bulletin news report. While the said status looks the same, there were some changes made in favor of certain businesses as well as churches organizing indoor worship services which I personally like.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin. Some parts in boldface…

The government’s pandemic task force has extended the pilot implementation of the new Alert Levels System for coronavirus (COVID-19) response in the National Capital Region (NCR) until October 15 but agreed to relax some of the Alert Level 4 restrictions.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement as Metro Manila’s Alert Level 4 status ends on September 30.

In a statement on Thursday evening, September 30, Roque said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious DIseases decided to extend the pilot run of the new COVID-19 response strategy until October 15, 2021.

While Roque’s statement did not specify if Metro Manila will be kept under Alert Level 4, the second-highest of the five alert levels, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said confirmed in a text message that the region will still be under the same alert level.

Meanwhile, Roque said that the IATF has approved the recommendation to increase to 20 percent the operational capacity of indoor services such as dine-in, in-person religious services, and personal care under Alert Level 4 for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The IATF initially allowed the said services to cater to the fully vaccinated indoors at only 10 percent seating capacity.

Operational capacity for outdoor dine-in, religious, and personal care services will remain at 30 percent.

The task force also approved the recommendation to reopen fitness studios and gyms at a limited 20 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals. However, gym workers should also be fully vaccinated.

Both gym clients and service providers are required to wear face masks at all times. Group activities are not allowed.

According to Roque, the said indoor services are allowed to increase their operational capacity by another 10 percent if they have a safety seal certification.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? If you are a business owner who badly needs customers to avail of services indoors, are the recent changes good enough? If you want to worship the Lord on Sunday during worship services indoors at your local church, were the mentioned changes good enough? Is your local government unit (LGU) doing a sufficient job on having you and your fellow community members vaccinated for COVID-19?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: DTI’s latest attempt to boost business operations in areas under Alert Level 4

While businesses in Metro Manila’s areas under Alert Level 4 have been allowed to operate and cater to customers with specific limits for outdoors and indoors, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) continues to push forward with boosting their operations even more and it could happen soon according to a recent report published by Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA. Some parts in boldface…

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency is considering increasing the allowed operation capacity of businesses in areas that will be under Alert Level 4 next month.

This, as the pilot week of the alert level system in Metro Manila has been a “good start” and “safe”, Lopez said in an interview with CNN Philippines Wednesday.

We consider bringing operation capacity up from 10 percent to 20 percent because it is deemed safe, and customers are highly complying (with the protocols). It makes sense to give a little more support on this protocol,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

He added this could start by October, after the last day of Alert Level 4 status in Metro Manila.

Metro Manila is currently under the new alert level system, in which outdoor dine-in operation is allowed up to 30 percent, and 10 percent for indoor dine-in services.

Same operation capacity was also applied for personal care services.

Aside from increasing the allowed capacity in stores, Lopez said the agency is also considering reopening the gyms under Alert Level 4.

Protocols under Alert Level 4 are equivalent to the current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) protocol.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? Were you able to personally visit a restaurant or a personal care service joint here in Metro Manila since the start of the Alert Level 4 implementation? Has everyone in your local community been vaccinated for COVID-19?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Muntinlupa City implements new COVID-19 Alert Levels system

In connection to the Alert Level 4 rules and guidelines that took effect all over Metro Manila yesterday, the City Government of Muntinlupa formally implemented the new COVID-19 Alert Levels System according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi issued guidelines in the implementation of the new COVID-19 Alert Levels System, the new community quarantine classifications in the National Capital Region (NCR) starting Sept. 16.

Under the new classification, Metro Manila is under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) Alert Level 4 from Sept. 16 to 30.

Fresnedi issued Executive Order No. 40 dated Sept. 15 outlining the various activities allowed and prohibited from Alert Levels 1 to 5, and the implementation of granular lockdowns in communities.

The order is based on the resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the new quarantine classifications.

According to the executive order and resolution, Alert Level 1 “refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate is low” while Alert Level 2 pertains to “areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, healthcare utilization is low, or case counts are low but increasing, or case counts are low and decreasing but total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate is increasing.”

Areas to be placed under Alert Level 3 are those “wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization,” while those to be under Alert Level 4 are “areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at high utilization.”

Alert Level 5 “refers to areas wherein case counts are alarming, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at critical utilization.”

Under Alert Level 4, according to Fresnedi, the following will not be allowed outside their residence: persons below 18 years old, persons over 65 years old, persons with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities or other health risks, and pregnant women. But they are allowed to go out to obtain essential goods and services, and report for work in permitted industries and offices.

The mayor will have the sole authority to declare an area under granular lockdown, according to the executive order, and he may impose it on an entire barangay, individual house, street, block, purok or sitio, compound, subdivision, village and other gated communities.

Granular lockdown will be in effect for at least 14 days and persons under it will not be allowed to go out.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, do you anticipate significant changes to happen locally? Do you think the new guidelines make sense?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 4 all over Metro Manila from September 16 to September 30, 2021

Change is indeed coming to Metro Manila starting September 16 as the national authorities announced yesterday (as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer) as the entire metropolis will fall under what is referred to as Alert Level 4 in relation to the new guidelines that got ratified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

What can National Capital Region (NCR) residents and stakeholders expect over the 15-day period? To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Inquirer report. Some parts in boldface…

Metro Manila will be placed under Alert Level 4 starting Sept. 16 until Sept. 30, which is the start of the pilot run of granular lockdowns, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Tuesday.

Año said Metro Manila mayors have agreed to implement just one alert level as a whole “for uniformity and easier enforcement.”

“Yes, under Alert Level 4 because the NCR (National Capital Region) mayors reached a consensus that they will follow one Alert Level only,” he said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

“For uniformity and easier enforcement within NCR, they agreed to be under Level 4. Hanggang Sept. 30 ang pilot testing,” he added.

Año said the majority of areas in the metro belong to Alert Level 4, anyway, but some qualify for Alert Level 5 while at least two areas under Alert Level 3.

Based on the new guidelines on granular lockdowns, areas under Alert Level 4, which is the second highest alert level in the new system, are those with high and/or increasing COVID-19 transmission and high total bed and intensive care unit utilization rates.

Persons aged below 18 and above 65 and those with health risks, including pregnant women, must stay at home unless they need to access essential goods and services or have to go to work.

Intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons who are not required to stay at their homes may be allowed subject to guidelines of their destination local government unit.

Individual outdoor exercises are likewise allowed in areas under Alert Level 4 for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status, but they must remain within the area of their residence.

Government agencies in areas placed under Alert Level 4 must remain fully operational while employing at least 20 percent on-site capacity with the rest under a work-from-home or flexible schedule scheme.

Under Alert Level 4, outdoor dine-in services in restaurants and eateries are only allowed at 30 percent venue capacity.

Meanwhile, indoor dine-in services are allowed to open at 10 percent capacity, but they may only cater to persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

All workers of these establishments must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Furthermore, LGUs may decrease the allowable capacity for these restaurants and eateries.

Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons are allowed at 30 percent capacity “if such services are conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status.” But if these are indoors, the IATF said they may only operate at 10 percent capacity.

Clients must also wear face masks at all times and all employees should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Religious gatherings, meanwhile, can be held on 30 percent venue capacity if conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status but only 10 percent will be allowed if conducted indoors and they may only accommodate persons fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and the assistants of these religious congregations must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must observe minimum public health standards.

That was a heavy load of details above. Were you able to read and understand it immediately? If you are having trouble understanding, you are not alone. What I’d like to point out that it is a relief for businesses offering personal care services and businesses in the food-and-beverage industry to be allowed to operate with the declared limits above. For the restaurants, coffee shops and other related food-and-beverage joints, take-out and delivery are still too limiting for their survival.

As for churches allowed to hold faith gatherings, what was stated above is a relief albeit with limitations. The 10% limit on venue capacity for indoor worship services is indeed small even for the fully vaccinated people who want to worship the Lord on-site (which is much more engaging than online worship). The 10% limit for on-site worship will have to do for now in Metro Manila until the end of this month. Whatever the declared limits are, never lose faith in God and keep praying to Him that the national and local authorities will do better and govern knowing that He is watching all of us.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the Alert Level 4 status for Metro Manila lasting for the rest of September? If you are a business owner, are the declared Alert Level 4 limitations good enough? If you are a pastor or church organizer, what do you think about the 10% limit on capacity venue for indoor worship? Is the requirement for pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other ministers and personnel on churches to be fully vaccinated too imposing on the part of the government and possibly unconstitutional? Do having multiple alert levels look confusing to you right now? Do you heavily trust the Metro Manila mayors and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) over the way they have been managing the metropolis?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673