Quarantine rules further relaxed

Published October 16, 2020, 1:09 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling and Argyll Cyrus Geducos

– 15-65 years old now allowed to go out
– Non-essential outbound travel approved
– Beach volleyball, off-track horse racing OK’d

After being on lockdown for the past several months, some senior and young people may now be able to leave their houses as part of the government’s efforts to revive the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Likewise, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases lifted the restrictions of non-essential outbound travel for Filipinos beginning Oct. 21, and will allow beach volleyball tournament, off-track horse racing, and licensed cockfighting activities.

In this photo taken on September 8, 2020, an elderly woman wearing a face shield boards a bus in Manila. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Prior to the latest IATF decision, the government required persons below 21 and above 60 years old to stay at home “at all times” except for essential activities like going to work or buying necessities in all community quarantine areas.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday, October 15, 2020, approved the adjustment of age-based stay-at-home restrictions. Persons from 15 to 65 years of age are now allowed to go out,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

“Local government units (LGUs) may impose a higher age limit for minors, depending on the COVID-19 situation in their respective jurisdictions,” he added.

Under Resolution No. 79, the IATF has revised its guidelines to include the adjustment of the stay-at-home restriction to cover those who are under 15 years old and those over 65 years old in all areas under community quarantine.

The amended guideline now reads, “Any person below 15 years old, those who are over 65 of age, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks and pregnant women, including any person who resides with the aforementioned, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries and offices or such other activities.”

The task force also amended the guidelines on the age restrictions for people in malls and shopping centers.

Those below 15 years old and above 65 may not enter these commercial establishments except for obtaining essential goods and services or for work, the new resolution read.

The government recently agreed to further open the economy and public transportation to revive business activities and allow more people to go to work.

The gradual expansion of the age group to go out was among the recommendations made by the economic cluster approved by President Duterte and the Cabinet during a meeting early this week.

Other recommendations approved by the Cabinet are the opening of more businesses, one-seat apart rule in public transportation, multiple work shifts to allow the public to contribute to the economy, and shorter curfews.

Outbound travel

Roque also said Filipinos may be allowed to leave the country after submitting confirmed round-trip tickets and adequate travel and health insurance for those traveling on tourist visas.

They are likewise required to execute an immigration declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling and a negative antigen result taken within 24 hours before departure, subject to the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines.

Outbound Filipino travelers shall likewise follow the Guidelines of the National Task Force (NTF) for returning overseas Filipinos.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles had earlier said that the IATF has already “approved in principle” the easing of the restrictions of non-essential outbound travel.

Beach volleyball

According to Roque, the IATF allowed the holding of a beach volleyball tournament by the Philippine Super Liga under a “sports bubble concept.”

He added that the operation of off-track horse race betting stations will be allowed in areas under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or lower.


Meanwhile, cockfighting enthusiasts may now rejoice after the IATF allowed the operation of licensed cockpits and the conduct of cockfighting activities in areas under the Modified GCQ.

However, the IATF has not allowed the broadcast and online forms of cockfighting activities.

Licensed cockpits should likewise secure the approval of the LGU. Live audience is also prohibited.

“Bawal yung broadcast at online na sabong at kinakailangan po mayroong pagpayag ng lokal na pamahalaan na siya rin pong nag su-supervise nitong mga sabong na ito (Broadcast and online forms of cockfights are prohibited and they should have the approval of the LGU which will supervise these activities),” Roque said.

“Hindi pupuwedeng may audience kinakailangan yung mga manok at yung kanilang mga naghahawak lamang ang naroon (They are not allowed to have an audience. It should only be the roosters and the players who should be there),” he added.

On Monday, Roque said that an IATF technical working group has been discussing whether to allow cockfights or not.

In July, Malacañang urged stakeholders of online cockfighting to ask the IATF for permission first before continuing with their innovation of the classic betting game.

The latest decision to ease movement restrictions came as the country recorded more than 340,000 cases of coronavirus.

The number of people who recovered from the illness soared to 294,161 while those who died reached 6,497.

The Palace previously reminded senior citizens to stay at home as much as possible since they are vulnerable to the coronavirus infection.