President Rodrigo Duterte announced Wednesday that the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status in Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal (NCR Plus) will remain in place for another two weeks.
The declaration of MECQ in the greater Manila area is extended until May 14. Santiago City in Isabela, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra will likewise remain under MECQ from May 1 to 31, Duterte added.
According to MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos, there will be some changes to the MECQ status for May in terms of businesses permitted to reopen, but border controls in the NCR Plus bubble will remain strict. The mayors of Metro Manila cities have recommended a “flexible MECQ,” which they believe is the middle ground between MECQ and general community quarantine so more businesses can operate.
The Department of Trade has yet to announce which industries will be allowed to reopen starting May 1. But Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez previously pushed for the resumption of personal care services, such as salons and spas, even with an initial capacity of 10%.
During the start of MECQ in mid-April, travel was limited to accessing essential goods and for those working in permitted establishments. Businesses that allowed to operate at 50% capacity during ECQ were allowed to fully open, while other sectors such as medical clinics, media establishments, banks, and other specific establishments were permitted to reopen at half capacity.