Starting tomorrow, Metro Manila will shift from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to the slightly more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ). But don't be fooled; it's not the same GCQ as before. With thousands of new cases still being recorded daily, Metro Manila will be placed under the second-highest alert level under the new experimental granular lockdown system – Alert Level 4.

But what does this mean for motorists that wish to get around? Despite the continued rise in cases, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said that leisure travel from Metro Manila to areas under GCQ or modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) will be allowed starting September 16 to 30, 2021.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat confirmed that leisure travel is allowed once again. However, she mentioned that traveling between these areas may resume only if LGUs allow it based on specific restrictions. So while the government is now allowing it, LGUs in different areas can still put up their own restrictions.

For example, Baguio is now under GCQ but has since suspended non-essential travel from September 3 to 19. In addition, Batanes, which is now under MGCQ, has deferred accepting tourists from other provinces for the time being.

But what about residents of Metro Manila that are below 18 and over 65 years old? Since NCR will be under Alert Level 4 starting tomorrow, they will not be permitted to leave their residences for the purpose of leisure travel based on the current guidelines.

“Travelers will also be subject to reasonable restrictions based on age and comorbidities as may be determined by their respective LGU and the reasonable regulations of their destination's LGU,” said the DOT in a statement.

For those that plan on going on a leisure trip in the coming weeks, better check first with the LGU that you're going to visit. But with cases still going up, it might be best to postpone those leisure trips for another time.