MGCQ, GCQ, or MECQ?
BLEACHER TALK - Rico Navarro (The Freeman) - May 31, 2020 - 12:00am

There seems to be confusion over the quarantine status that the government is declaring all over the country. The latest is that the entire province of Cebu will be under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) from June 1-15. Or is Cebu City under GCQ coming from MECQ? Confused? The IATF Resolution Number 38 earlier indicated that the Cebu Province would be under GCQ while Cebu City would be under MECQ from June 1-15. This was apparently changed a day after the memo was released, leaving many to ask, “Unsa ba gyud?” As I write this piece, anything can still happen and don’t be surprised if another change is made. Let’s all just chill, relax and wait for the succeeding announcements from our local officials. One thing is certain, there is still the letter “Q” (stay home) and most importantly, COVID 19 is very much alive, kicking and ready to rumble!

For the sports world, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has provided guidelines for each level of quarantine. The IATF’s “Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines” for MGCQ says, “Indoor and outdoor non-contact sports and other forms of exercise such as but not limited to walking, jogging, running, biking, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian, and skateboarding are allowed. Provided, that the minimum public health standards such as the wearing of masks and the maintenance of social distancing protocols, and no sharing of equipment where applicable, are observed.” Meanwhile, the GCQ guidelines allow only the outdoor type of the sports mentioned above.

That’s pretty clear: no contact and essentially individual-type sports. In this situation, we can expect both private and public sports complexes to slowly but surely open, but with clear guidelines for the safeguarding of its customers. I’d like to cite the example of Alta Vista Golf and Country Club which has issued comprehensive guidelines if and when they are allowed to re-open. These include the procedure to reserve tee times to temperature checks, wearing of masks, disinfection, washing of hands and distancing (among others). Will the Cebu City Sports Center open? Is it ready to implement anti-COVID measures? How many joggers will be allowed on the track? How many swimmers will be allowed to use the swimming pool? Will the entire sports center be disinfected (including the parking area)? Are soap or sanitizers available?

For many these days, working out at home has been the norm. Teams practice online via zoom, google meet or messenger rooms, with the coach leading and athletes following instructions. Team meetings and kumustahan sessions are also conducted for the teammates to remain connected. The fitness buffs and weekend warriors stay home and go to youtube, TV and other online apps for individual fitness programs like over-all body-weight routines, yoga, pilates, zumba, shadow boxing and the like. I discovered that former USPF basketball player Ayn Latonio is a well-respected yoga instructor and is conducting yoga sessions online. (I wonder if he’ll allow me to join him for free.) Staying home/indoors is still hands-down the best venue that assures no contact with the outside world and ergo no unwelcome encounters with COVID.

If we really need to go out of the house to work out, we’re better off going out for a walk, jog or run, but not in public places where distancing might be a problem. Biking is also recommended, but in places that aren’t crowded and where you get a good breath of fresh (unpolluted) air.

Regardless of quarantine status we are under, we must all act with a sense of responsibility and vigilance. If and when we decide to go out for whatever reason, we must take all measures to protect ourselves from the virus. First question we must ask is if we really have to go out. Is there a legitimate purpose for going out of the house? We must not forget that while the quarantine levels are downgraded, the virus is still out there and had not decreased its presence. In fact, it has increased its reach on our population.

 Being responsible and vigilant also means never forgetting to pray that this pandemic comes to an end. Pray for the healing of those who have the virus; pray for those who have passed away; pray for the discovery of a vaccine; pray for all those heroic frontliners; pray for the underprivileged affected by the economy; pray that our leaders be guided to make the right decisions for the good of the country. And I’d also like to make a special request for prayers for our colleagues in sports and media. Laban lang!

COVID-19 IATF
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