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Metro tests Covid ‘alert’ restrictions

Some restrictions in Metro Manila will be eased in the last two weeks of September under alert level 4, the second strictest of the five-tier quarantine system set by the pandemic

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Some restrictions in Metro Manila will be eased in the last two weeks of September under alert level 4, the second strictest of the five-tier quarantine system set by the pandemic task force, Malacañang announced Tuesday.

Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said that the capital region shall observe the guidelines under alert level 4 from 16 to 30 September as recommended by the health department.

Under the new lockdown category, minors and persons above 65 years old, individuals with comorbidities, and pregnant women are barred from stepping out of their homes, except when to obtain essential goods and services or to work in permitted industries and offices.

People not in those categories may be allowed to travel within and outside of areas under level 4, subject to the regulations of their destination’s local government unit (LGU).

Outdoor exercises shall be permitted for all residents, regardless of their health and vaccination status, but only within their streets or villages. They should also observe basic Covid-19 protocols, such as wearing masks and avoiding crowds.

Under level 4, outdoor or al fresco dine-in services are permitted at 30 percent capacity, while indoor dine-in services may accommodate customers up to 10 percent of their seating capacity and can only cater to those fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Personal care services were only limited to barbershops, hair and nail spas, and beauty salons at 30 percent capacity if they operate in an outdoor setting. If they function indoors, only 10 percent of seating capacity shall be allowed.

Meanwhile, indoor tourist attractions, cinemas, Internet cafés, casinos, wedding receptions, gyms, and cosmetic clinics, and the like will remain prohibited under alert 4.

Religious gatherings, except processions and similar services, are allowed, but limited to a specific number of people. Necrological services, meanwhile, will be limited to immediate family members, provided the cause of death was not Covid-19.

Government offices may operate within 20 percent of their capacity in the capital region under level 4.

New scheme
The new alert level system is the government’s attempt at replacing region-wide curbs with granular lockdowns, where smaller areas are placed under strict restrictions.

It consists of five levels, with alert level 5 being the strictest, under which mass gatherings, indoor dining, and personal care services are prohibited.

The said lockdown scheme remains limited to Metro Manila, since it would only serve as pilot area for the newly-created quarantine system.

The existing four-degree quarantine classifications remain effective across the country, unless otherwise stated by the pandemic task force.

with Raffy Ayeng, John Roson and Paula Antolin

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