All the MECQs are not like one another, so here’s what’s allowed and what’s not this time

Image from JFVelasquez Floro via Wikimedia Commons
Image from JFVelasquez Floro via Wikimedia Commons

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) announced late Thursday night, August 19, 2021 that it was approving the shift to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) for the National Capital Region and the province of Laguna, from August 21 until August 31, 2021.

MECQ is supposed to be a step down from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), which is the strictest level of community quarantine in the Philippines. This is the fourth time that the NCR has been placed under MECQ, after the instances in May and  August 2020 and April 2021.

The four-tier quarantine classification system is supposed to help the public understand the prevailing restrictions. And yet the MECQ versions haven’t been like one another, with guidelines on essential services being different each time.

Generally, the omnibus guidelines state that during MECQ, senior citizens and children are not allowed outside their residences—only people aged 15 to 65 may go out, subject to further conditions and restrictions. Theoretically, only one person per household can go out to buy food, though quarantine passes have not been issued for this round.

Read: Here are medical teleconsultation services for Filipinos that cost everything from zero to Php33,900

It does get confusing, so here are the guidelines that have been announced of August 20, with some comparisons with previous MECQ rules:

Dine-in services for restaurants:

  • Not allowed 

Personal care services ( beauty salons and parlors, barbershops, nail spas)

  • Not allowed

Religious gatherings in person

  • Not allowed 
  • Previously allowed for no more than five people

Necrological services

  • Not allowed except for immediate family members of the deceased

Public transport

  • No announcement yet from the Department of Transportation for current MECQ
  • Allowed in previous MECQ at up to 50% capacity on buses and UV Express, 20 to 30% on railways; one passenger each for motorcycle and tricycle services
  • Not allowed in MECQ 2020


  • Allowed at up to 50% capacity and subject to guidelines issued by the Department of Trade and Industry

Outdoor exercise

  • Allowed, but only in the vicinity of one’s residence in current MECQ 3

Coconuts Manila will update this list as soon as more information becomes available.

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