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MECQ Returns To Metro Manila & Neighboring Provinces – Public Transport Suspended, Business Activity Limited

MECQ returns to Metro Manila and neighboring provinces 

Over the weekend, our medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout” has been heeded by President Rodrigo Duterte after he returned Metro Manila and other neighboring provinces back to the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).  This is happening almost five months since the first lockdown measure was first introduced in response to the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

Starting August 4 until August 18, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal that were previously under GCQ will be once again under the stricter MECQ measures

MECQ returns Metro Manila - August 4 to August 18 2020Image credit: Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines)

Public transportation suspended, but free shuttle services are provided for frontliners

MECQ returns Metro Manila - DOTR guidelines MECQ
Image credit: Department of Transportation – Philippines 

Under the reimplementation of the MECQ, public transportation is not available as trains, buses, jeepneys, taxis, TNVS, and tricycles are prohibited from operating.

Free public shuttle services, however, are being provided for medical frontliners and workers in allowed industries. Company shuttles under the private sector shall also be allowed under special permits from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). 

MECQ returns Metro Manila - Free shuttle service VP Robredo
Image credit: VP Leni Robredo 

Only 2 persons per row are allowed in private vehicles, while only one rider is allowed on each bicycle, motorcycle, and e-scooter.

Limited operations in major commercial establishments

MECQ returns Metro Manila - Malls on limited capacityImage credit: SM City North EDSA 

The IATF will implement the same guidelines on the operational capacity of commercial establishments issued in May 2020. Only non-leisure shops in malls will be allowed to partially open during the MECQ. Dining will be prohibited once again in restaurants too, but restaurants will be allowed to provide deliveries and take-outs


If you’ve been taking care of a pet during the pandemic too, don’t worry as veterinary clinics will accommodate your needs with their skeletal workforces. And for students, as classes will reopen mostly with distance learning on August 24, you can still go to your nearest bookstores and supplies stores in the meantime for last-minute shopping. 


Other establishments that will be partially open include the following: hardware stores, clothing & accessories shops, baby care supply stores, pet supply stores, toy stores, electronic equipment stores, and flower, jewelry, novelty, antique, and perfume shops. Do phone or message them in advance before visiting for essential errands to avoid disappointment.

Playgrounds & amusement parks will remain closed – so those of us looking to visit will have to content ourselves with virtual tours instead, like this one of Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna


Essential services such as grocery stores and banks will remain fully open. But if you prefer to shop for food and other essentials online for safety reasons, check out our guide to online grocery stores that deliver in the metro.

Gyms and salons will be closed again

MECQ returns Metro Manila - gyms and salons closedImage credit: Pantone Beauty Lounge

Gyms and salons had been restarting their operations during the GCQ and MGCQ, but they now have to close once more as gyms, fitness studios, sports facilities, as well as personal care establishments are not allowed to operate under the MECQ. 

MECQ returns Metro Manila - SM Drive-In CinemaImage credit: SM Cinema 

We will also have to continue watching movies and amusing ourselves at home as entertainment centers including, but not limited to, cinemas, theaters, and karaoke bars will be closed.

Other businesses that will have to close again include the following: libraries, archives, museums, cultural centers, tourist destinations including water parks, beaches, and resorts, and travel agencies. 

MECQ returns Metro Manila - Duterte on a meeting with IATF August 2 Duterte on a meeting with the IATF on August 2
Image credit: Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) 

MECQ returns to Metro Manila and neighboring provinces

As our healthcare system is strained under the increase in COVID-19 cases, the reimplementation of the MECQ will hopefully control the patient care workload for our medical frontliners. 

While the stricter lockdown measure gives our tired frontliners more time and space to control the pandemic, we hope our community will also make the most out of this two-week break to stay at home as much as possible and practice social responsibility in the fight against this worsening health crisis. 

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Cover image adapted from: Wikimedia Commons