Despite the threat of the Delta variant, Metro Manila will revert to a more relaxed quarantine status. Come September 8, 2021, NCR will be placed under the less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ) said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. This is a downgrade from the current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) classification imposed on the region.
While Metro Manila will shift back to GCQ, it will be different from previous implementations. Roque says that a new system of localized or “granular” lockdowns will be implemented. The new system will allow LGUs, mayors, and governors to implement lockdowns on a smaller scale. For example, an LGU can choose to lockdown a street or barangay rather than an entire city or province. At the same time, businesses, especially those affected by the lockdowns, will be allowed to resume operations.
The full details regarding the granular lockdowns have yet to be released. However, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ano did give an idea. According to Ano, there will be four “Alert Levels”, Level 4 being the strictest and Level 1 with the least restriction.
But what does the shift to GCQ mean for us motorists? For starters, expect the relaxation of checkpoints around town; no more checkpoints traveling from one city to another. The only exception would be areas under granular lockdown, which would prevent anyone from entering or exiting the area. Meanwhile, the number coding scheme will continue to be suspended until the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) decides to reimplement the scheme once more.
There's good news for those planning to have their vehicles serviced at dealerships as well. Under GCQ, dealerships in Metro Manila will be able to resume operations without operating under a skeletal workforce. The Land Transportation Office (LTO) may also resume operation at full capacity instead of the 50% workforce currently implemented at offices.
Complete details regarding the new lockdown system are expected to be released tomorrow. Hopefully, the guidelines and how it's implemented are clear to prevent any more confusion from happening. There are already too many variants of MECQ and to remember.
More importantly, the downgrade of Metro Manila to GCQ shouldn't be an excuse for most to go out. Remember, the country is still recording over 10,000 new cases daily. Stay home if you can.
Update: As of September 7, 2021, the Philippine government has decided to postpone the downgrade to GCQ with granular lockdowns for NCR; the region will remain under MECQ for the time being.