Pilot alert level restrictions in NCR eyed to start on Sept. 16 — DILG exec

Published September 10, 2021, 4:00 PM

by Chito Chavez

A policy shift that uses “alert level” restrictions is expected to be enforced in the National Capital Region (NCR) starting Sept. 16 to 30, according to an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)

DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing (File photo via Densing’s Facebook account)

DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said in a news briefing Friday, Sept. 10, that Metro Manila will be the pilot area of the new policy that uses Alert Levels 1 to 5 in determining the quarantine status of an area.

He said the new scheme shall erase the previous classification that uses other quarantine restrictions like modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

He said the new policy has already been approved “provisionally” by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Under the said policy, Alert Level 5 is a hard lockdown similar to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and will be imposed by the national government as a last resort if the COVID-19 cases goes haywire.

Meanwhile, Alert Levels 1 to 4 shall be imposed in areas where there are granular lockdowns.

Further, Densing noted that industries will also be classified as “3Cs’’ which connote “closed or indoor, crowded, and close contact” to determine which will be allowed to operate in the different alert levels.

Under Alert Level 5, most sectors are not allowed to operate. Under Alert Level 4, 3C activities are not allowed.

Meanwhile, 3C activities are allowed at 30 percent under Alert Level 3; 50 percent at Alert Level 2; and full capacity at Alert Level 1 as long as minimum public health standards are observed.

Closed or indoor industries include indoor social/non-essential activities, indoor limited face-to-face classes, indoor meetings, incentives, conferences, events (MICE), and indoor cinemas and entertainment industries.

Meanwhile, crowded industries include religious gatherings, social gatherings such as concerts and parties, and activities that require maximum capacity and physical distancing.

Lastly, close contact industries refer to personal care services, dine-in services, and other activities wherein appropriate use of personal protective equipment cannot be done.

As an incentive, Densing pointed out that additional 10 percent capacity will be provided if the establishments allowed to operate in a specific alert level have the safety seal certifications.

Further, the DILG official pointed out that individuals aged 18 years old and below, 65 years old and above, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions are barred from going outdoors in areas placed under Alert level 4.

In Alert Level 2 and 3 areas, Densing stated that it is up to the concerned local government units (LGUs) to impose the restrictions which they deem are necessary while the most relaxed restrictions are enforced in Alert Level 1 areas.

Densing stressed that only 20 percent of the employees in government offices are required to report for work in Alert Level 4 areas while 30 percent, 50 percent and almost 100 percent may be at the workplaces in Alert Levels 3, 2 and 1 areas respectively.

Private firms were also urged to maintain minimal workforce as work from home is highly encouraged as the maximum number of employees may go to work in Alert Level 1 places.

Densing said the policy shift was one way to effectively slow down the COVID-19 transmission as granular lockdowns were supposedly found to be efficient in controlling the spread of the virus.