An uncountable many have welcomed the government move to relax restrictions for people’s visibly trouble-free mobility after going through more than seven months of different stages of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has specified that some senior and young people may now be able to leave their houses as part of the government’s efforts to revive the economy during the pandemic.
The IATF-EID has allowed persons between 15 and 65 years old to go out of their houses in line with easing the movement restrictions in community quarantine areas.
Prior to the latest IATF decision, the government required persons below 21 and above 60 years old to stay at home “at all times” except for essential activities like going to work or buying necessities in all community quarantine areas.
On October 15, the IATF-EID approved the adjustment of age-based stay-at-home restrictions, in that persons from 15 to 65 years of age are now allowed to go out, with local government units given the option to impose a higher age limit for minors, depending on the COVID-19 situation in their respective jurisdictions.
Malacañang previously reminded senior citizens to stay at home as much as possible since they are vulnerable to the coronavirus infection.
The IATF-EID also “approved in principle” easing restrictions on non-essential outbound travel, and allowing more passengers in public buses—one-seat apart rule—as part to revive business activities and allow more people to go to work as businesses slowly reopen their doors to boost the domestic economy, multiple work shifts to allow the public to contribute to the economy and shorter curfews.
The task force also amended the guidelines on the age restrictions for people in malls and shopping centers. Those below 15 years old and above 65 may not enter these commercial establishments except for obtaining essential goods and services or for work, according to the new resolution.
Authorities have also allowed the holding of a beach volleyball tournament by the Philippine Super Liga under a “sports bubble concept” and the operation of off-track horse race betting stations will be allowed in areas under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or lower.
Meanwhile, cockfighting enthusiasts may now exclaim logro diez or doblado, among other outbursts in this male-oriented pastime, after the IATF allowed the operation of licensed cockpits and cockfighting activities in areas under the Modified GCQ.
But, while the eased restrictions may encourage people movement, those going out must be reminded that the coronavirus may hit people without them knowing they caught the symptoms—and the infections and deaths, which rise every day, have reached respectively nearly 366,000 and almost 7,000 as at last count.
The eased restrictions should not let the people be off their guard, with the fundamentals of health protection – like correct physical distancing, wearing of face masks and face shields, and the basics of good hygiene—high on everybody’s minds.