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NCR Plus & 3 Other Areas Shift To MECQ, Malls Set Longer Hours, Outdoor Dining & Religious Gatherings Now OK

NCR Plus and 3 other areas placed under MECQ

Given that we are still recording alarming numbers of COVID-19 cases since the ECQ, it’s indeed going to be quite some time before we can get out of the woods. 

But fortunately, we can now ease ourselves into a less strict quarantine under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), which is now in effect in NCR Plus and three other areas in Luzon. 

Starting today, 12th April, until the 30th, Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Abra, Quirino, and Santiago City in Isabela shall observe MECQ rules and regulations.

NCR Plus malls are now following new opening hours

NCR plus MECQ - Mall hoursImage credit: RioHondo

Malls are keeping their essential stores open but with adjusted and longer operating hours than their hours during the ECQ.

NCR plus MECQ - Al Fresco SM MegamallAl Fresco Dining Space at SM Megamall
Image credit: @smmegamall

Major malls in NCR Plus such as SM Supermalls and Robinsons Malls are now open from 10AM-7PM, and we can also dine in their restaurants with al fresco spaces. 

More shops allowed to open at 50% capacity

NCR plus MECQ - Dangwa MarketDangwa Flower Market
Image credit: mark pedron

Aside from our malls’ adjusted hours, we can now buy more of our needs from stores selling baby and infant care supplies, school and office supplies, flowers, jewelry, antique items, toys, firearms, and ammunition. These stores are permitted to operate at 50% capacity.

More offices and industries operating at full on-site capacity

NCR plus MECQ - Vets In PracticeVets in Practice clinic
Image credit: Vets In Practice

Some industries that were partially operational under ECQ are now allowed to operate at their full on-site capacity. These include media organizations, medical and veterinary clinics, banks and money transfer services, capital markets such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), water and sanitation services, energy sector, telecommunications providers, aviation, and funeral services. 

Other industries can start operating at 50% capacity

Sectors including the manufacturing services, fashion and design industries, architecture, engineering, legal and accounting services, science and technology, computer programming services, vehicle maintenance services, and film, music, and TV industries can also begin using their offices or scheduling production at 50% capacity.

Religious gatherings are now permitted, but leisure activities are still prohibited

NCR Plus MECQ - hotelsImage credit: Marriott Hotel

If you’ve been itching to travel, you will have to hold off your plans for the meantime as tourist destinations will remain closed. Hotels are still not allowed to operate except for those who have existing bookings, displaced Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), and stranded individuals.

NCR Plus MECQ - religious gatheringsImage credit: Jabrian37

Under the MECQ, religious gatherings are permitted, but only at 10% capacity. Establishments that encourage other public gatherings such as cinemas, concerts and sporting venues, amusement parks, libraries, museums, and cultural centers, however, can not yet operate.

NCR plus MECQ - gyms closed
Image credit: Timothy 

You will still have to keep up your self-care and fitness regimens at home with gyms, fitness studios, and personal care services establishments also shut until further notice. 

And unfortunately, there is still no public transportation, but curfew hours, set from 6PM to 5AM during the ECQ, are now shorter from 8PM to 5AM. 

NCR Plus and other areas in MECQ

Even though restrictions are now being lifted, let’s go outdoors only when necessary. After all, cases are not yet significantly subsiding and hospitals are still overwhelmed with patients. 

But with more testing, vaccinations, and community support, here’s to hoping we can finally restart our usual day-to-day lives soon. 

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Cover image adapted from: RioHondo, @smmegamall