MANILA - Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Wednesday different levels of anti-coronavirus protocols would still be enforced despite easing restrictions and that the public should anticipate a "different normal" and "subdued" Christmas celebrations as the threat of COVID-19 remains.
Granular lockdowns and other health protocols will be part of the normal processes even if all areas move to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Lopez told ANC.
"What we are saying is regardless of the community quarantine, we simply need to adapt to this new normal. We’re not saying na pag MGCQ tayo we will drop everything and move on as normal as before. It’s a different normal," Lopez said.
With just 93 days before Christmas, Lopez said he anticipates a more "subdued" celebration with less family reunions and gift giving targetting just the immediate family.
The Christmas season could still be "happy and merry" but it won't be the same as before, he said.
Local government units now also have the freehand to adjust restaurants' dine in option capacity provided minimum health standards are maintained, he said.
The LGUs can adjust dine-in capacity to over 50 percent as long as the minimum 1-meter physical distancing is observed and that other health protocols such as the use of barriers are implemented, he said.
As of Sept. 22, the Philippines has 291,789 confirmed cases of COVID-19, prompting the government to keep restrictions in place to arrest the spread of the disease.