The Enhanced Community Quarantine will soon be lifted come May 15, 2020, but that doesn't mean Metro Manila will immediately shift to General Community Quarantine.

Starting May 16 until May 31, 2020, Metro Manila (including the municipality of Pateros), the province of Laguna, and the City of Cebu will be placed under what the government calls "Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine" (MECQ).

But what makes it different compared to the current imposed ECQ? According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the following areas are still under ECQ but there are now select industries that will be opened, and certain barangays/areas in the zone can now be put under either GCQ or ECQ. 

Under the new MECQ, movement within cities is limited only to obtaining essential services and work. In addition, select manufacturing and processing plants can now operate but they are only allowed to have 50% of their workforce present. Meanwhile, public transportation will still be limited to essential goods and services. Finally, classes are still suspended across all levels.

“Bubukasan po natin unti-unti ang ekonomiya. Magkakaroon po ng operasyon ang piling manufacturing and processing plants up to a maximum of 50%. Hinay-hinay, dahan-dahan, unti-unti po ang ating pagbukas ng ating ekonomiya,” said Roque.

(Let's restart the economy slowly. Select manufacturing and processing plants will have operations up to a maximum of 50%. Let us slowly open our economy).

With the MECQ measures to be implemented right after May 15, 2020, the citizens of Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu City will have to wait further. But what industries will be allowed to operate under MECQ? Harry Roque explained that they are still finalizing what industries will be allowed to return to work in areas placed under MECQ. They plan to announce the final list tomorrow.

For those that hoped that Metro Manila will be placed under GCQ, let us all keep our distance from one another, wear face masks at all times while in public places, and make sure that our hands are always clean and sanitized. Perhaps come June, these areas will soon be placed under a more relaxed quarantine should there be lesser cases of COVID-19 transmission.