It’s the first week under a new quarantine status, which means it’s been another whirlwind of updates and protocol changes across the country.
Here’s a roundup of the biggest news in local travel from the week.
Quarantine status update
The NCR+ area, along with Santiago City, Isabela and the provinces of Abra and Quirino will be under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) until the end of April.
Under MECQ, only essential shops such as banks, supermarkets, drugstores, and service shops are allowed to operate. Indoor dining remains banned, with restaurants only allowed to accommodate takeout and delivery services, and al fresco dining at 50 percent capacity.
The local police will continue to man checkpoints and enforce revised curfew hours from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in NCR+ (essential workers and other Authorized Persons are still exempt from curfew). Certain cities have also elected to keep local protocols, like the liquor ban in Quezon City, in effect until end of the month.
Despite upward trends in at least five regions in Luzon and more provinces across the country, higher quarantines are looking unlikely: the national government says they’re monitoring the data, but so far “don’t see the need” for stricter measures.
LGUs double down on restrictions
With Covid-19 cases still on the rise, local government units (LGUs) around the country are imposing stricter preventive measures in their cities and towns.
Certain areas in Zamboanga City and the provinces of Camarines Sur and La Union have been put under localized lockdown, while curfew hours and checkpoints have been re-set in Legazpi City and Negros Occidental to help slow the spread of the virus.
Up north, travel protocols have also changed: tourist attractions in Ilocos Norte are now open only to residents from Region 1, whereas only essential travel is allowed across BLISTT—Baguio and border towns La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay—until April 22.
Photo by Miguel Nacianceno, published in Issue 12. Banner image photos by Francisco Guerrero and Sonny Thakur.
Public transport limits set in NCR
Metro Manila commuters may need to adjust their schedules: all major rail networks are running on limited capacity after hundreds of its personnel and staff tested positive for Covid-19. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced the schedule and capacity of operations, which you can find here.
Until the end of the month, the LRT-2 will only run from 6AM to 6PM, while the LRT-1 is suspending its weekend operations for scheduled maintenance. But there is some good news: more buses are being deployed to the Monumento/EDSA (via Rizal and Taft Aves) route for affected commuters.
Select government services suspended
With the restrictions outlined under MECQ, certain government offices are also limiting or suspending services until at least the end of the month. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has completely suspended voters’ registration in MECQ areas, while the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)’s Consular Offices are only accepting emergency cases.