The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) announced late Thursday night, August 19, 2021 that it was approving the shift to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) for the National Capital Region and the province of Laguna, from August 21 until August 31, 2021.
MECQ is supposed to be a step down from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), which is the strictest level of community quarantine in the Philippines. This is the fourth time that the NCR has been placed under MECQ, after the instances in May and August 2020 and April 2021.
The four-tier quarantine classification system is supposed to help the public understand the prevailing restrictions. And yet the MECQ versions haven’t been like one another, with guidelines on essential services being different each time.
Generally, the omnibus guidelines state that during MECQ, senior citizens and children are not allowed outside their residences—only people aged 15 to 65 may go out, subject to further conditions and restrictions. Theoretically, only one person per household can go out to buy food, though quarantine passes have not been issued for this round.
It does get confusing, so here are the guidelines that have been announced of August 20, with some comparisons with previous MECQ rules:
Dine-in services for restaurants:
Personal care services ( beauty salons and parlors, barbershops, nail spas)
Religious gatherings in person
Previously allowed for no more than five people
Not allowed except for immediate family members of the deceased
No announcement yet from the Department of Transportation for current MECQ
Allowed in previous MECQ at up to 50% capacity on buses and UV Express, 20 to 30% on railways; one passenger each for motorcycle and tricycle services
Not allowed in MECQ 2020
Allowed at up to 50% capacity and subject to guidelines issued by the Department of Trade and Industry
Allowed, but only in the vicinity of one’s residence in current MECQ 3
Coconuts Manila will update this list as soon as more information becomes available.
This article, All the MECQs are not like one another, so here’s what’s allowed and what’s not this time, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.