What are the New Restrictions in NCR Plus (a.k.a. the Greater Manila Area)?

On March 20, 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the new travel restrictions proposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF – EID) due to the alarming number of new COVID-19 cases. “NCR Plus” (or the Greater Manila Area) is placed under the “GCQ Bubble” from March 22, 2021 (Monday) to April 4, 2021 (Sunday).

NCR Plus" (or the Greater Manila Area) is placed under the "GCQ Bubble" from March 22, 2021 (Monday) to April 4, 2021 (Sunday).

Photo: Unsplash/johnmerinfilms

NCR Plus bubble

The Greater Manila Area, which comprises Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, was referred to as “NCR Plus” by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Prior to his announcement, Metro Manila was already under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status, while Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal were under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGQC) status.

With the new travel restrictions, people are not allowed to go in and out of the “GCQ Bubble,” except for “essential travel.”

New restrictions

All places in NCR Plus are under the same curfew, which is from 10 PM to 5 AM. The only ones who are allowed to leave and enter this bubble are the following:

  • Essential workers (with valid company IDs)
  • Health and emergency frontline services personnel
  • Government officials
  • Duly-authorized humanitarian assistance workers
  • Persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons
  • Persons going to the airport for travel abroad
  • Persons crossing zones for work or business and going back home
  • Returning overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers

Meanwhile, people below 18 and above 65 years of age, pregnant women, and those with comorbid conditions are not allowed to go outdoors. Individuals who are 65 years old and above may be allowed outside only for exercise or non-contact sports. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) may also be allowed outside for therapy but must be able to present their PWD IDs and prescription from their physicians.

Weddings, funeral services, and baptisms are allowed but could only have a maximum of 10 people present. All other mass gatherings are prohibited. For restaurants, indoor dine-in services are not allowed, while outdoor or “al fresco” dining may be permitted if the following are observed:

  • 50% seating capacity
  • One seat apart
  • Maximum of two persons per table only
  • Acrylic barriers must be used

Public transportation will still be available, but everyone must observe the following:

  • Wear face masks and face shields
  • No talking and making phone calls
  • No eating
  • Keep public utility vehicles well-ventilated
  • Conduct frequent disinfection
  • Do not allow passengers with COVID-19 symptoms inside
  • Observe appropriate physical distancing

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