The pilot run for the new COVID-19 alert systems and granular lockdowns will begin in Metro Manila on Thursday, Sept. 16, with the region classified under General Community Quarantine on Alert Level 4.
There are five alert levels based on the guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) that determine activities allowed in the cities or municipalities.
Areas under Alert Level 4, the second-highest alert level, are those with high and/or increasing case counts as well as high total bed and intensive care unit utilization rates.
Alert Levels explained
Since Metro Manila is under Alert Level 4, mobility for persons below 18 years old and above 65 years old, those with health comorbidities, and pregnant women are limited. They must stay at home unless they need to buy essential goods or services or are working in permitted industries.
Meanwhile, Alert Levels 2 and 3 are more lax mobility-wise with reasonable restrictions based on age and comorbidities to be determined by LGUs. Intrazonal and interzonal travel are allowed, too, depending on the guidelines of their destination LGU.
Under Alert Level 1, the most lenient lockdown, movement of persons is allowed, except for activities in places that put them in closed, crowded, or close contact areas. Private establishments and government agencies may operate at full capacity with minimum public health standards.
The highest Alert Level 5 is equivalent to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
What's allowed under Alert Level 4?
Individual outdoor exercises will be allowed for all ages and regardless of their comorbidities and vaccination status. However, they are limited within their area of residence.
Outdoor dining, barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, beauty salons, and physical religious gatherings are allowed to operate at up to 30% of their outdoor seating capacity for everyone, regardless of their vaccination status.
These establishments and services can also operate indoors at up to 10% capacity, but they can only serve those who are fully vaccinated. Workers in these businesses must also be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Mass gatherings, meetings, conferences, wellness centers, recreational venues, staycations, and indoor tourist attractions are prohibited under the alert level.
Government agencies will remain fully operational with a 20% on-site working capacity while implementing work-from-home arrangements.
Restrictions under granular lockdowns
Local government units will impose granular lockdowns corresponding to the alert levels.
The granular lockdown will last for at least 14 days, and during that period, mobility in and out of the area will be limited to healthcare workers, non-health personnel working in health facilities, and uniformed personnel tasked to enforce the restrictions.
LGUs will designate a "border collection point" as it will not allow people delivering food and other essential items to enter.
Residents in the areas will also receive assistance from LGUs and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.