"We need to brace ourselves for a much longer struggle."
The return to Enhanced Community Quarantine on August 6, as recommended and approved while COVID-19 vaccinations continue, is certainly not ideal. Most affected will be the daily wage earners who will have to find another way to earn their keep. Small businesses, which have managed to get by during the past few months, will again see diminished activity—hence revenue.
We defer however to the authorities and decision makers. We are sure they have analyzed the data and deliberated the pros and cons of imposing yet another lockdown.
The return of Metro Manila under ECQ from August 6 to 20, to be reviewed after that period, will succeed the general community quarantine status with “heightened and additional restrictions” which is in effect until August 5 in the NCR Plus Bubble, which includes the provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna.
Local chief executives in the national capital region previously called for the imposition of the strictest form of quarantine—a circuit breaker to the noted increasing daily rate of infections—in Metro Manila to prevent the spread of the disease.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos said the national government has approved the request of local chief executives in the NCR to distribute cash aid to the affected families during the two-week ECQ.
Presidential and Task Force spokesman Harry Roque reminded the public not to resort to “panic buying” since they have a week to prepare for the ECQ. Businesses that will be affected are also encouraged to make the necessary preparations.
Under the latest IATF Resolution 130-A, outdoor dining will not be allowed under the stricter GCQ starting July 31. Take-out and food deliveries are the only services allowed.
Starting July 30, personal care services can operate up to 30 percent of venue or seating capacity. Indoor sports courts and venues; and indoor tourist attractions; and specialized markets of the Department of Tourism will not be allowed to operate.
Public transportation will remain operational. Only authorized persons can travel into and outside NCR Plus composed of Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna.
Only virtual religious gatherings shall be allowed starting July 30.
Beyond doubt, the return to ECQ is not the development we all had hoped for—but we need to remember that we are still fighting an unseen enemy. We need to brace ourselves for a much longer struggle.