Quezon City MECQ guidelines: Tricycles allowed, quarantine passes required

Quezon City has released its guidelines for implementing the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) – covering businesses, transportation, gatherings, and outdoor activities.

The guidelines were released on Friday, May 15, a day before the start of the MECQ in Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Laguna.

A copy of the guidelines can be found at the bottom of this article.

For the most part, they mirror the policies approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases. (See nationwide MECQ guidelines here and types of establishments allowed to operate here.)

But the national task force gave mayors some room to make policies specific to their areas of jurisdiction.

Tricycles allowed in QC. QC has decided to allow tricycles to operate. They are the only form of public transportation allowed in the city.

Tricycles are allowed to take in only one passenger, who must sit in the sidecar and never on the motorcycle behind the driver. The city requires that a "transparent barrier" be installed between the motorcycle and sidecar to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

All tricycles must also be regularly disinfected and sanitized, though the city hall did not say how often this must be done. Passenger and driver must also wear face masks or gloves.

Because of the extra cost these precautions would entail, the tricycle fare may go up.

"The City may consider adjusting the current fare matrix and issuing additional guidelines," read the document.

Quarantine passes required. Another QC-specific policy that will continue under MECQ is the requirement of quarantine passes for any resident who will leave their homes to buy essential goods and services.

Barangays are to issue one quarantine pass per household. Any member of the household can use this pass, even if it's not their name on it. 

"The quarantine pass should be honored even if it is in the name of another person, as long as that person belongs to the same household," read the guidelines.

However, if a resident is going out to work in industries allowed under MECQ, they just need to present their company IDs at checkpoints.

Masks, disinfection day. Quezon City requires mask-wearing in all public places and establishments.

It laid down health protocols to be followed by all businesses and establishments, including thermal-scanning in entry points, crowd control and social distancing by one meter, and regular disinfection of high-touch surfaces like elevator buttons, door knobs, handrails, fingerprint scanners, counters, tables, and chairs.

They also require a "disinfection day," or one day a week for "thorough disinfection."

Establishments need to designate one health and safety officer among their employees to ensure these rules are implemented.

Malls open. Malls can open starting May 16, but only non-leisure stores and other allowed businesses can operate within them.

People who buy clothes are not allowed to try them on. You can't eat inside restaurants because they can only do take-out or delivery. Playgrounds, gyms, amusement areas, and cinemas will remain closed.

Children, elderly, and pregnant women can only enter malls to obtain essential foods and services, or if they work in the mall.

Only the following stores can open:

  • clothing and accessories
  • hardware stores
  • bookstores
  • school and office supply
  • baby care supply
  • IT and electronics
  • flower
  • jewelry
  • novelty and antique shops
  • perfume shops
  • toy stores
  • mall-based government offices
  • groceries, pharmacies, pet stores and clinics

As of Friday, the Philippines has 12,091 coronavirus cases, including 806 deaths and 2,460 recoveries.  Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.