DILG sets quarantine guidelines for MECQ areas

Published April 12, 2021, 9:25 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a memorandum on Monday, April 12, on the implementation of health protocols in the NCR-plus and other areas placed under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

In an April 12  memorandum, DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Bernardo Florece Jr. directed all governors, mayors, barangay captains in areas placed under MECQ to ensure the adequate number of “COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-2019) dedicated beds, complementary health human resources, and well-coordinated triage and referred systems in place at the LGUs (local government units), isolation and quarantine facilities and health facilities.’’

He also directed the concerned parties to institute measures to decongest hospitals through the partnership of hospitals with temporary treatment and monitoring facilities/step-down facilities for mild/moderate cases or home care, provided that there is proof of capacity to adequate quarantine/isolation.

The LGUs were also ordered to set-up their respective local telehealth triaging systems equipped with sufficient medical personnel available to provide immediate medical and patient referral advice.

Florece in the memorandum asked the LGUs to prioritize the generation of the demand for vaccination to those with highest risk for severe disease and death, particularly priority groups A2 and A3 of the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19.

In addition, the LGUs under MECQ should ensure that the following health protocols are observed in their localities as mandated under the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of Community Quarantine (with amendments as of April 3).

These include the following:
-Minimum public health standards shall be complied with at all times for the duration of the MECQ.
-Strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households and the movement of all residents shall still be limited to accessing essential goods and services and for work in permitted offices or establishments or such other activities allowed hereunder.
-Any person below 18 years old and over 65 years old, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity or other health risks and pregnant women are required to remain in their homes at all times except for obtaining essential goods and services permitted in this memo. The LGUs may relax the minimum age requirement to 15 years old depending on the COVID-19 situation in their respective areas.
-All establishments, persons or activities permitted to operate, work, or be undertaken during enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) shall be allowed to operate at full on-site capacity.
-All establishments, persons or activities not permitted to operate, work or be undertaken during ECQ shall be allowed to operate at 50 percent on-site capacity while encouraging work from home and other flexible work arrangements are applicable.
-The following establishments, persons or activities are not allowed to operate, work or be undertaken during the MECQ:
Entertainment venues with live performers such as karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, theaters, and cinemas; Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, and similar venues;Amusement parks or theme parks, fairs/peryas, kids amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom and kiddie rides;Outdoor sports courts or venues for contact sports, scrimmages, games, or activities; Indoor sports courts or venues, fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centers or facilities, and swimming pools;Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except for the draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; Indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits; Outdoor tourist attractions;Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions;Personal care services which include beauty salons, beauty parlors, medical aesthetic clinics, cosmetic or derma clinics, make-up salons, nail spas, reflexology, aesthetics, wellness and holistic centers, and other similar establishments; acupuncture and electrocautery establishments, and massage therapy including sports therapy establishments. It also includes establishments providing tanning services, body piercings, tattooing and similar services. Home service for these activities are likewise not permitted; and,Indoor dine-in services of food preparation establishments such as commissaries, restaurants, and eateries.
– Gatherings outside of residences shall be prohibited. Gatherings in residences with any person outside of one’s immediate household shall likewise be prohibited. However, gatherings that are essential for the provision of health services, government services, or humanitarian activities authorized by the appropriate government agency or instrumentality shall be allowed.
Religious gatherings shall be allowed up to ten percent (10%) of the venue capacity. Provided, that, there is no objection from the local government unit where the religious gathering may take place. Provided, further, that the LGU may increase the allowable venue capacity up to thirty percent (30%). The religious denominations should strictly observe their submitted protocols and the minimum public health standards.
Gatherings for necrological services, wakes; inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed, provided that the same shall be limited to immediate family members, upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and with full compliance with the prescribed minimum public health standards for the duration of the activity; 
– Law enforcement agencies shall recognize and of the following IDs: (i) IATF IDs issued by the regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over permitted establishments or persons, (ii) valid IDs or other pertinent documentations issued by accrediting organizations or establishments allowed under ECQ, and, (iii) if required by the LGU, local IDs for availing of essential goods and services. No other IDs or passes specifically exempting persons from community quarantine shall be required of workers of permitted establishments and/or offices without prejudice to requiring the presentation of other documents establishing the nature of their work;
– The movement of cargo/delivery vehicles as well as vehicles used by public utility companies shall be unhampered. Shuttle services of permitted establishments shall not be subject to an ID system but shall maintain compliance with minimum public health standards;
– Individual outdoor exercises such as outdoor walks, jogging, running or biking, are allowed within the general area of their residence, e.g. within the barangay, purok, subdivision, and/or village. Provided, that the minimum public health standards and precautions such as the wearing of face masks, and the maintenance of social distancing protocols are observed; and
– Uniform curfew hours may be imposed by LGUs, subject to the guidelines issued by this Department. Workers, cargo vehicles, public transportation, and operating hours of permitted establishments, however, shall not be restricted by such curfew.
The recommended uniform curfew hours for concerned areas shall be from 8:00 o’clock PM until 5:00 o’clock AM.
“All Governors and Mayors are to coordinate with one another to ensure the smooth implementation of the directives and guidelines as mentioned above, and to ensure that LGUs within their areas of jurisdiction are enforcing the same. Punong Barangays are directed to play an active role in the enforcement of these directives as guided by the higher LGUs. The same are also directed to further strengthen their Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) and have them work with higher LGUs, and national government agencies, to fully implement and comply with measures on prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and reintegration (PDITR),’’ Florece said.
“The DILG Regional Directors of NCR, Region 3, Region 4-A, and all affected regions are hereby directed to ensure that LGUs within their respective jurisdiction comply with the above directives,’’ he added.