What Does GCQ with 'Heightened Restrictions' Even Mean?

Quarantines redefined yet again.

Metro Manila and surrounding provinces will be placed under GCQ "with heightened restrictions" starting May 15 after one month of strict restrictions that placed 24 million people inside the bubble.

The capital region, Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal were initially placed under ECQ, the highest set of restrictions, at the start of April, which was later downgraded one notch to MECQ. From MECQ, it will be downgraded to GCQ "with heightened restrictions."

What does this mean? Only "essential travel" in and out of the so-called NCR Plus Bubble will be allowed, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Here are further changes:

  • Indoor dining capacity increased to 20% from 10%, al-fresco dining capacity set at 50%
  • Outdoor tourist attractions in the bubble can reopen at 30% capacity
  • The Department of Tourism is allowed to identify and reopen "specialized markets."
  • Religious services including wakes and funerals for non-COVID deaths are allowed up to 10% capacity
  • Personal care services that don't require the removal of face masks such as salons and beauty clinics can reopen at 30% capacity
  • People aged 18 to 65 years old can leave the house
  • Entertainment venues, such as bars, concert halls, theaters, recreational venues, such as internet cafes, billiards halls, arcades, amusement parks, fairs, playgrounds, kiddie rides, indoor sports courts and venues, indoor tourist attractions, venues for meetings, conferences, exhibitions are not allowed.
  • Only those considered APOR can go in and out of the bubble.

Take note that while still called ECQ and MECQ, the way these quarantines were implemented in the bubble was less strict compared to 2020. One crucial difference is that some 24 million people could not go in and out of the bubble except for essential travel.


Here's the difference between MECQ 2021 inside the NCR Plus Bubble and the GCQ, subject to last-minute changes from authorities, which will be reflected in this article as they come.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by editors.

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