Travel from NCR to GCQ, MGCQ areas now allowed

Leisure travel from Metro Manila to areas in the country under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) are now but allowed subject to local government guidelines starting September 16, after NCR was placed under Alert Level 4 in the pilot Covid-19 alert levels system.

The recalibrated movement control will initially hold until end of the month. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said leisure travel may resume in these areas but only “if their LGUs allow it,” citing some specific restrictions by the likes of Baguio that is under GCQ and Batanes already under MGCQ.

NCR residents below 18 and over 65 years old, however, are not yet permitted to leave their residences for the purpose of leisure travel under the Alert Level 4 guidelines.

“Travelers will also be subject to reasonable restrictions based on age and comorbidities as may be determined by their respective LGU and the reasonable regulations of their destination’s LGU,” DOT said in a statement.

Areas under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and GCQ with heightened restrictions from September 8 to 30 are as follows:

MECQ: Apayao, Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, Lucena City and Cagayan de Oro City

GCQ with heightened restrictions: Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Pangasinan, Quezon, Batangas, Antique, Capiz, Cebu Province, Lapu-Lapu City, Negros Oriental, Naga City, Bacolod City, Zambaonga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Davao City. Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental and Butuan City.

Baguio was placed under GCQ but non-essential travel to the city has been suspended from September 3 to 19 while Batanes, under MGCQ, has deferred from accepting tourists from other provinces for the meantime.

The national government piloted the Covid-19 alert levels system in NCR that was declared Alert Level 4 from Sept. 16 to 30. Based on the guidelines, “intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons not otherwise required to remain at their residences” is allowed “subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination” on this level.

Likewise permitted are outdoor or al fresco dine-in but only up to 30% venue capacity while, indoor dine-in will be allowed at 10% only for fully-vaccinated individuals.

Still prohibited are staycations, indoor visits, and and indoor venues for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE). DOT said the high inoculation rate among tourism workers from hotels will make dining in their restaurants safer.

“The good news is that 99 percent of tourism workers employed in hotels across Metro Manila have been vaccinated,” Romulo-Puyat said,

“All in all, tourism workers in NCR, including those in DOT-accredited restaurants recorded a 94 percent vaccination rate. This is an added assurance, not only to the safety of our guests, but our tourism workers as well,” she added.

The DOT stressed that only point-to-point travel would be allowed, which means “pit stops or stopovers are allowed for eating and personal necessities, but no side trips shall be made to other tourism destinations.”