(SPOT.ph) With daily positive COVID-19 cases reaching an all-time high in the Philippines, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Sunday, March 21, announced additional restrictions to movement in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal from March 22 to April 4. Metro Manila and nearby provinces are now under one "General Community Quarantine Bubble" or what the national government dubbed as "NCR+." Non-essential travel outside NCR+ is not allowed; but that doesn't mean your Holy Week plans are effectively ruined.
In SPOT.ph's exchange with Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, she confirmed that traveling for leisure from Metro Manila to the four nearby provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) is allowed. Residents of the National Capital Region may have to cancel their plans of going to Boracay in the next two weeks, but they can go to Tagaytay and go to a restaurant with outdoor dining, for example.
Still, people below 18 and above 65 are strictly not allowed outside of their homes unless the reason is essential, so you may have to leave the kids behind when you go out of town. The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew also remains in effect.
Staycations Within NCR Plus
Staycation within NCR+ is allowed. Only hotels with "Certificate of Authority to Operate as Staycation" from the tourism agency are allowed to operate for leisure purposes. Hotels that are operating as quarantine accommodation as approved by the Department Health cannot accept guests.
As previously announced, these are the 13 Metro Manila hotels that allow staycations:
- Grand Hyatt Hotel
- Okada Manila Hotel
- Shangri-La at the Fort
- Nobu Hotel
- Joy Nostalg Hotel and Suites Manila
- EDSA Shangri-La Manila
- Solaire Resort
- Hyatt Regency City of Dreams
- Nuwa Hotel City of Dreams
- The Peninsula Manila
- Aruga by Rockwell
- Sheraton Manila Hotel
- Hilton Manila
If you're staying at hotels outside NCR but within the GCQ bubble, make sure you have a proof of booking. Cavite, as announced by Governor Jonvic Remulla on March 21, requires you to present negative COVID-19 test results at checkpoints.
What You Can and Can't Do Within NCR+:
- Only outdoor dining or al fresco are allowed in restaurants with max of 50% of venue capacity.
- Traditional cinemas, game arcades, libraries, museums, and cultural centers are temporarily closed.
- Only open-air tourist attractions remain open.
- According to Remulla, beach resorts in Cavite may only accommodate pre-existing or advanced bookings. Public swimming and leisure day trips are not allowed.
- Golf courses in Cavite also remain open to NCR, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan residents as long as you show your valid ID and confirmed booking at checkpoints.
- Religious gatherings, however, are prohibited. So you may have to hold off on your Holy Week masses and Visita Iglesia.
As of March 21, 4 p.m., the Philippines has a total number of confirmed cases of 663,794 after 7,757 new cases were confirmed. Deaths are at 12,968.