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

COVID-19 Crisis: Guidelines on localized lockdowns in NCR ‘provisionally’ approved by IATF

Are you still disappointed over the extended MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) in Metro Manila which was the result of the recent flip-flop by the national authorities? You definitely are not alone as Marikina City’s mayor spoke out against the national government for their flip-flop and the Metro Manila mayors plus the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) issued a resolution urging Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to consider easing the COVID-19 guidelines for fully vaccinated people in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The current MECQ will last until September 15 and we should not be surprised to see changes happening on the 16th as the IATF “provisionally” approved guidelines on the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Speaking of granular lockdown, take note what happened in a certain locked down residential community in Parañaque City.

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

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has “provisionally” approved the guidelines on the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila, Malacañang announced on Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) policy shift would only impose either the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or the general community quarantine (GCQ) with four alert levels in Metro Manila.

“Sang-ayon po dito sa policy shift na gagawin natin, dalawa na lang ang quarantine classifications. Ito po ang ECQ na ipapataw ng IATF o ‘di naman kaya ay GCQ (Based on the policy shift that we will carry out, there will only be two quarantine classifications. These are the ECQ that will be imposed by the IATF or the GCQ),” Roque said in a virtual presser.

He said the localized lockdown that would be pilot-tested in Metro Manila has four levels.

The IATF-EID is still ironing out the details on the implementation of alert level 4, the strictest level, Roque said.

Roque said all areas that would be placed under an alert level system should follow the protocols that are consistent with their alert levels and issued by the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19.

The classification of pilot areas and their alert levels will also be done weekly, unless otherwise specified, he added.

“Lahat po ng areas ay magpapatupad po ng granular lockdowns, sang-ayon po sa guidelines ng NTF. Ang pagkakaiba po nito, itong lockdowns na ito ay mas strikto (All areas will implement granular lockdowns, based on the guidelines of the NTF. The difference is these lockdowns are stricter),” Roque said.

With the implementation of stricter granular lockdowns, health and allied health professionals are the only ones who will be considered Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), he said, noting that government workers in areas under localized lockdown would not be allowed to go out.

“‘Yun pong mga taong gobyerno ay hindi makakapagtrabaho kapag kayo po ay nasa ilalim ng localized lockdown. Hindi kayo pupuwedeng lumabas (Government workers will not be allowed to go out if their areas are under localized lockdown. They cannot go out),” Roque said.

He, however, assured that local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would provide assistance to households that might be affected by the implementation of granular lockdowns.

“Magbibigay na po ng ayuda ang lokal na pamahalaan at ang DSWD para po hindi na kinakailangang lumabas ng kahit na sino sa mga lugar na naka-granular lockdown (Local governments and the DSWD will give assistance so residents of areas under granular lockdown would no longer need to leave their homes),” he said.

Roque did not mention when the pilot implementation of localized lockdowns would commence.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the new guidelines for granular lockdown? Do you believe that the plan of using 4 alert levels for GCQ will cause a lot of confusion? Do you think that the national authorities will be able to finalize and issue the new guidelines before September 15?

How many people do you personally know lost their jobs because of the most recent flip-flop by the IATF resulting the extended MECQ? Do you believe that the IATF, the Metro Manila Council and the MMDA are paying sufficient attention to economic matters like job losses and the affected employees’ loss of income?

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