If you remain in a GCQ area, you can breathe a little much easier. You can drive around a bit more so long as you follow correct social distancing and other government advisories to control the spread of COVID-19.
However similar to anything, there need to be standards to cover all foreseeable and appropriate aspects of day-to-day life in light of the pandemic. And one of the most important ones is movement.
Recently the Land Transportation Workplace (LTO) released Memorandum Circular 2020-2185, otherwise called Guidelines in the enforcement of policies provided by the Department of Transport relative to the operation of Land Transport in the General Neighborhood Quarantine (GCQ) locations.
In it, the LTO detailed all the rules that they will be enforcing in the GCQ areas and will incorporate personal lorries, for-hire automobiles, and even federal government lorries.
The MC specifies sanitary requirements for public cars like mandating that motorists and conductors wear face masks, suggest making use of automatic fare collection systems (i.e. Beep card), a requirement to disinfect utility cars at the end of each trip (especially ‘high-touch’ locations like grab handles), sealing the driver’s seat from the rest of the travelers, so on etc.
The Memorandum Circular likewise lays out social distancing and sanitation requirements at PUV terminals and so forth. The MC states that public transport vehicles ought to just be loaded to 50% capacity (buses, jeepneys), setting a maximum of 2 travelers per row on UV Express shuttles, taxis and TNVS units, and orders tricycles to only bring one guest.
However one provision caught our eye: Short article III, Section 4-b. It specifies that “All chauffeurs and passengers of personal and federal government vehicles need to wear face masks at all times.”
On face value (no pun intended), it indicates we all must use masks when we’re driving in a GCQ area, but it makes no distinction between a completely occupied automobile under the standards (i.e. passenger vehicle: 4 pax maximum) or when it is simply the driver inside. So the concern is this: if you’re driving in a GCQ location alone in your car, will you be collared by the LTO or other LTO-deputized officers?
We connected to LTO Executive Director Romeo Vera Cruz for comment on the matter, and he clarified that it will just be applied if there is more than one individual in a private vehicle in a GCQ location.
“Common sense dictates that it just uses when there are guests, a minimum of in so far as LTO is concerned,” stated LTO ED Vera Cruz. “The Circular would be too verbose if we still have to state the obvious. Anyhow the Circular is a guide to our enforcers. We will regularly remind them.”
So, if you’re driving solo in a GCQ location, you won’t be captured or hassled for not using your mask inside your own vehicle. However if you have passengers (i.e. relative) with you, masks are needed based upon MC 2020-2185.
Also, that means that all travelers in any federal government vehicle in a GCQ area will need to use masks too.
We brought up with ED Vera Cruz that there is going to be some negativity against the LTO for this particular standard particularly now given that everybody has a bit more time on their hands and are looking for outlets for some smart aleck comments.
“Regrettably, it remains in our nature but we simply need to be client however firm. We are under a nationwide emergency.” said the Executive Director of the LTO.
This content was originally published here.