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Alert Level 4: What it means and its implications

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Bacolod City has recently been placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 4. But what does this mean?

The National Inter-Agency Task Force last 13 October 2021 has released new quarantine classifications for dealing with the virus, complete with their respective health protocols and guidelines.

Alert Level 4, the quarantine status of Bacolod, refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at high utilization.

This is the second highest level of alert status.

The following are guidelines to areas under Alert Level 4.

TRAVEL

Intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination, except for those below 18, year and belonging to the vulnerable population, namely, those who are over 65, those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women. The only times the vulnerable sectors are allowed to go out is when they are trying to obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices in accordance with existing labor laws, rules, and regulations.

Fully vaccinated individuals belonging to the vulnerable population and those below 18 shall be allowed to participate in the following activities: Specialized markets of the Department of Tourism such as Point-to-Point Travel subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination, and Staycations; and individual outdoor exercises even beyond the general area of their respective residences.

Minimum public health standards and precautions should be observed however such as the wearing of face masks and the
maintenance of social distancing protocols are observed.

BUSINESS OPERATIONS

The following establishments and/or activities characterized as high-risk for transmission shall not be allowed to operate, or be undertaken in areas classified under Alert Level 4:

  • Face to face or in-person classes for basic education, except those approved by the IATF and/or the Office of the President with Amendments as of October 13, 2021;
  • face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education or for technical, vocational education and training, except those approved by the IATF and/or the Office of the President;
  • All contact sports, whether indoor or outdoor; cinemas and movie houses; funfairs/peryas and kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides;
  • venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters; casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except as may be
    authorized by the IATF or the Office of the President;
  • and gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.
  • The following establishments, or activities, shall be allowed to operate, or be undertaken at a maximum of 10% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30% outdoor venue capacity provided that they have been issued a Safety Seal Certification.
  • Provided further, that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and minimum public health standards shall be strictly maintained.
  • Provided further still, that there is no objection from the LGU where these activities may take place: venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE);
  • permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers;
  • visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, archives, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or
    overlooks, and the like;
  • amusement parks and theme parks; and recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues.
  • The following establishments, or activities, shall be allowed to operate, or be undertaken at a maximum of 10% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30% outdoor venue capacity.
  • This is provided that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and minimum public health standards shall be strictly maintained.
  • In-person religious gatherings, provided that gatherings shall be limited to the conduct of religious worship and/or service, and processions and other similar mobile religious gatherings shall not be allowed.
  • This is provided further, that pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and the assistants of these religious congregations have been fully vaccinated;
  • Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations administered by their respective government agency, and specialty examinations authorized by the IATF subject to the health and safety guidelines as approved by the IATF;
  • Dine-in services in food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, subject to DTI sector-specific
    protocols;
  • Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology, and other similar procedures including home service options, subject to the sector-specific protocols of the DTI;
  • Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols. Provided that patrons/clients and workers/employees wear face masks at all times and that no group activities are conducted; and,
  • Film, music, and television production, subject to the joint guidelines as may be issued by the DTI, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the DOH.

GATHERINGS

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19, and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased, shall be allowed, provided that the same shall be limited to immediate family members, upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and with full compliance with the prescribed minimum public health standards.

GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

Agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall remain to be fully operational and shall adhere to at least 20% on-site capacity while applying work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements.

Hannah A. Papasinhttp://facebook.com/hannah.mariveles
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.
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