By JONAS TERRADO
Group workouts of pro teams and training of national athletes will remain prohibited even if Metro Manila and provinces inside the NCR Plus bubble were placed under a looser Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine guideline Monday, April 12.
Only individual activities are permitted in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan as per MECQ regulations of the Joint Administrative Order crafted by the Games and Amusements Board, Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Health.
The said areas are under MECQ until April 30, unless the Inter-Agency Task Force recommends an extension or a return to Enhanced Community Quarantine, the strictest measure imposed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concerned athletes will have to wait a little longer before NCR Plus can return to General Community Quarantine, which allows practices with observance of strict health protocols and training bubbles.
Pro teams in the PBA, Premier Volleyball League and Philippines Football League had been holding practices while some national athletes were in the middle of their training bubble inside the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna when ECQ was implemented for two weeks due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The return to ECQ prompted the PBA and the PVL to push back the start of their respective seasons even as preparations for the Tokyo Olympics came to a halt.
Most athletes were forced to undergo individual workouts at home, reverting to the scenario when the country was placed under ECQ for the first time in March 2020.
The new guidelines, however, allows solo activities outdoors like walking, running, jogging and biking, provided that physical distancing is observed.
Golfers, however, are still banned from returning to fairways located under MECQ since the sport is only allowed in GCQ and MGCQ areas.