What rule governs the conduct of General Community Quarantine in the Philippines?
The Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines (“Guidelines”) defined General Community Quarantine (“GCQ”) as the implementation of temporary measures limiting movement and transportation, regulation of operating industries, and presence of uniformed personnel to enforce community quarantine protocols.
Under GCQ, any person below twenty-one (21) years old, those who are sixty (60) years old and above, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women, including any person who resides with the aforementioned, shall not be allowed to go out of their residences. However, they may be allowed to go outdoors for the purpose of individual exercise or when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services, and for work allowed under GCQ.
What are still prohibited within GCQ areas?
The following are still not allowed in areas placed under GCQ:
- Mass gatherings that are unauthorized, non-work essential or are entertainment-related such as movie screenings, concerts, and sporting events;
- Religious gatherings (allowed only if not more than 10 persons);
- Residential or face-to-face classes;
What activities are allowed in areas placed under GCQ?
The movement of all persons in areas placed under GCQ shall be limited to accessing essential goods and services, for work in permitted offices or industries, and individual outdoor exercises such as outdoor walks, jogging, running or biking.
All public and private construction projects shall also be allowed.
What Businesses are allowed to operate within GcQ areas?
Industries, establishments, and offices allowed in areas under ECQ shall remain permitted to operate or work at the same operational capacity and under the same conditions provided in areas under GCQ.
In addition to that, the activities or services already allowed to operate at full (100%) operational capacity under the MECQ shall also be allowed under the GCQ, which are as follows:
- Media establishments;
- Establishments involved in the production of cement and steel;
- BPOs and export-oriented establishments, without need to set up onsite or near-site accommodation arrangements;
- Mining and quarrying;
- E-commerce companies;
- Postal, courier and delivery services;
- Rental and leasing, other than real estate, such as vehicles and equipment for permitted sectors;
- Repair of computers, personal and household goods; and
- Housing services activities.
However, offices, establishments, or individuals conducting or providing the following activities or services are allowed to operate only at fifty percent (50%) operational capacity:
- Other manufacturing industries classified as beverages, which include:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Electrical machinery
- Wood products and furniture;
- Non-metallic products;
- Textiles and clothing/wearing apparels;
- Tobacco products;
- Paper and paper products;
- Rubber and plastic products;
- Coke and refined petroleum products;
- Other non-metallic mineral products;
- Computers, electronic, and optical products;
- Electrical equipment;
- Machinery and equipment;
- Motor vehicles, trailers, and semi-trailers;
- Other transport equipment and others.
- Real estate and leasing activities;
- Administrative and office support, such as but not limited to providing photocopying and billing services;
- Other financial services such as, but not limited to, money exchange, insurance, microfinance and credit cooperatives, reinsurance and non-compulsory pension funding;
- Legal and accounting services;
- Management consultancy services or activities;
- Architectural and engineering activities that includes technical testing and analysis;
- Science and technology, and research and development;
- Recruitment and placement agencies for overseas employment;
- Advertising and market research;
- Computer programming and information management services;
- Publishing and printing services;
- Film, music and television production;
- Photography, fashion, and industrial, graphic and interior design;
- Wholesale and retail trade of vehicles and their parts and components, whether such vehicles be fuel, electric or human powered;
- Repair and maintenance of vehicles;
- Malls and commercial centers;
- Dining and restaurants (delivery and take-out only);
- Hardware stores;
- Clothing and accessories;
- Bookstore and school and office supplies;
- Baby or infant care supplies;
- Pet food and pet care supplies;
- Information technology, communication and electronic equipment;
- Flower, jewelry, novelty, antique and perfume shops;
- Toy stores;
- Firearms and ammunition trading establishments;
- Pastors, priests, rabbi, imams, and other religious ministers insofar as providing home religious services to households.
In addition to the foregoing, the following sectors or industries shall also be allowed to operate:
Category 1 Industries (at full or 100% operational capacity)
- Power, energy, water and other utilities;
- Agriculture, fishery, and forestry industries;
- Food manufacturing and food supply chain businesses, including food retail establishments such as supermarkets, grocery stores, and food preparation establishments insofar as takeout and delivery services
- food delivery services
- health-related establishments
- the logistics sector;
- information technology and telecommunication companies
- the media
Category II Industries (at anywhere between 50% up to full operational capacity, and without prejudice to work from home and other alternative work arrangements)
- Mining companies
- Other manufacturing companies
- Other delivery, repair and maintenance services
- Housing and office services
Category III Industries (at 50% work-on-site arrangement, and without prejudice to work-from-home and other alternative work arrangements)
- Financial services
- Legal services
- Accounting services
- Auditing services
- Professional, scientific, technical and other non-leisure services
- Other non-leisure wholesale and retail establishments
What industries are not allowed to operate at all?
Category IV Industries
- Amusement establishments
- Gaming establishments
- Fitness establishments
- Kids industries
- Tourism industries
Are hotels or similar establishments allowed to operate under GCQ?
As a general rule, they are still not allowed to operate except those providing basic lodging to the following:
- For areas outside Luzon, guests who have existing booking accommodations for foreigners as of 01 May 2020;
- Guests who have existing long-term bookings;
- Distressed OFWs and stranded Filipinos or foreign nationals;
- Repatriated OFWs in compliance with approved quarantine protocols;
- Non-OFWs who may be required to undergo mandatory facility-based quarantine; and
- Health care workers and other employees from exempted establishments.
Work in all government offices may be at full operational capacity, or under such alternative work arrangements as agencies may deem proper in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission. Accredited diplomatic missions and international organizations may operate at fifty percent (50%) capacity.
Are malls and shopping centers allowed to open within GCQ areas?
Yes. However, leisure establishments and services shall continue to be closed.
What modes of transportation are allowed under GCQ?
The road, rail, maritime, and aviation sectors of public transportation shall operate at a reduced operational and vehicle capacity, as follows:
- LRT-1 (passenger riding capacity is 12%)
- LRT-2 (passenger riding capacity is 10%)
- MRT-3 (passenger riding capacity is 13%)
- PNR (passenger riding capacity is 20%)
- Public utility buses (PUBs) and public utility jeepneys (PUJs), passenger load should not exceed fifty percent (50%) or half of the vehicle’s capacity, excluding driver and conductor.
- UV express and taxis (2 persons per row)
- Tricycle (1 passenger in the sidecar and backriding is not allowed)
- Private cars (essential travels only, one person in front seat and front-facing seats shall not exceed 2 persons per row)
- Motorcycles (essential travels only and no backriding)
- Bicycles and similar devices
- The following flights are allowed to operate for areas under GCQ:
- Government and military flights;
- International flights subject to existing IATF-EID/BOQ protocols;
- Air ambulance and medical supplies;
- Flight check and weather mitigation flights;
- Maintenance and utility flights;
- Emergency flights; domestic flights coming to and from provinces and cities under GCQ, subject to required airport clearances and flight plan approvals, as maybe applicable; and
- Other flights (as approved by IATF-EID).
- ships and other passenger vessels (passenger load should not exceed fifty percent (50%) or half of its capacity
Local government units have the duty to enact ordinances to enforce curfew for non-workers, mandatory wearing of face masks and the prohibition of discrimination against frontliners and coronavirus patients, and to penalize violations of the restrictions on the movement of people. As provided in the Guideline, the penalties should be fair and humane.
At all times for the duration of the GCQ, minimum health standards and precautions such as the wearing of masks and the maintenance of social distancing protocols must be observed.
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If you need assistance in civil, criminal or other aspects of Philippine law, or if you have any business or commercial concerns, especially during these times, we can help you. Nicolas and de Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines. You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Visit our website www.ndvlaw.com.