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Masks, temperature checks and no hugs with Mickey Mouse greeted visitors to Disneyland in California on Friday as Walt Disney's original theme park reopened for the first time in over a year.

Under coronavirus pandemic guidelines, "The Happiest Place on Earth" was opened only to California residents and capacity was limited to 25% to allow for social distancing.

Guests, age 2 and older, were required to wear face masks and there were none of the usual hugs with costumed characters like Mickey Mouse and Snow White.

There will be no parades, and the nightly fireworks displays have been put on hold to prevent crowds from gathering closely together.

Tickets to Disneyland are sold out through mid-June, according to the park's online reservation system, but there is more availability in the adjacent California Adventure.

Disneyland, located 35 miles south of Los Angeles in Anaheim, opened in 1955.

Walt Disney Co closed its theme parks around the world in March 2020 to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company's most-visited resort, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, reopened in July 2020.

Disneyland Paris is currently closed. Disney parks in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong are open.

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via Reuters

Disneyland re-opens this May in California

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) will defer to the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte on the next quarantine status for the National Capital Region starting May 1.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos, who is also the concurrent MMC chair, said the council will just wait for the President's announcement on the next quarantine status to be implemented in NCR.

“The MMC just recommends to the IATF. Hence, it is within the purview of President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on the next NCR status,” Abalos stressed.

According to Abalos, the Metro Manila mayors voted on three proposed quarantine classifications: enhanced community quarantine, modified enhanced community quarantine and what they called “hybrid” or "flex" modified enhanced community quarantine with additional economic and business activities to be classified and approved by the Department of Trade and Industry. Their recommendation was already submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The MMDA chief said the third option, hybrid or flex MECQ, was proposed by Department of Health Usec. Ma. Rosario Vergeire.

"Hybrid MECQ is intended to allay the fear of health workers for a possible surge again. That's why we want to do it gradually. By opening some businesses, we are also addressing the dilemma and hunger of those who lost their jobs," Abalos explained.

"The recommendation was based on data presented by health experts and also from NEDA as presented by Sec. Karl Chua. Through hybrid MECQ, we are hitting the middle ground. There will still be strict border controls to avoid transmission, but at the same time there will also be additional economic activities."

While all the Metro Manila mayors have agreed not to disclose their recommendation, Abalos also assured that they are ready for whatever quarantine status to be imposed, advising the public to strictly adhere to minimum health standards to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“All the 17 local chief executives in Metro Manila are ready to implement any community quarantine status, whether it is to ease the quarantine restrictions or extend the modified enhanced community quarantine,” he added.
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"The mayors don't want the gains of ECQ and MECQ to be put into waste especially since we've seen the downward trend on the growth rate. We are hoping that we can sustain it by our continued unified efforts," Abalos said.

NCR Plus bubble, composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, has been placed on MECQ until April 30.

Meanwhile, Abalos announced that Metro Manila mayors, through Resolution 21-09 Series of 2021, have unanimously agreed to adjust curfew hours starting May 1. New unified curfew hours will be from 10 pm to 4 am.

"All local chief executives in Metro Manila have agreed to enact their respective Executive Orders and/or adopt their respective Ordinances for the proper implementation of the standardized and unified curfew hours," the resolution stated.
The resolution was approved and signed by 17 local chief executives of Metro Manila on April 27.

To recall, the MMC decided to implement unified curfew hours from 8pm to 5am starting April 12 until the end of MECQ on April 30.

The MMC, comprised of the 17 LGUs of Metro Manila, is the governing and policy-making body of the MMDA.

via MMDA

MMC approves new unified curfew hours beginning May 1

National Capital Region (NCR) Plus will remain under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) next month, President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Wednesday.

“Modified enhanced community quarantine. Modified ito so medyo strict. NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal (Modified enhanced community quarantine – modified, meaning somehow strict – will be imposed in NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal),” Duterte said in his talk to the people.

RELATED: MMC approves new unified curfew hours beginning May 1
MECQ will be implemented in NCR Plus, composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, MECQ until May 14, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a separate press statement.

Qurino and Abra provinces, as well as the City of Santiago in Isabela, will also stay under MECQ for the whole month of May, Duterte said.

On the other hand, the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) will be imposed in Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Quezon, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City, and Lanao del Sur from May 1 to 31.

The rest of the country will remain under the least restrictive modified GCQ (MGCQ).

Roque said the latest quarantine status is still “subject to the appeals of local government units.”
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The government is targeting to lower health care and intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rates to ease the quarantine protocols in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Daily attack rate, two-week average attack rate, and health care utilization rate serve as indicators for community quarantine classification.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on April 22 said augmenting ICU beds is crucial in relaxing the quarantine status in the country.

On Tuesday, Roque said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is currently in talks with an Austrian firm for the purchase of additional 200 ICU beds.

via PNA

MECQ extended in NCR Plus

Community pantries have sprouted in the Philippines to help struggling Filipinos cope.

A lot community pantries have been spotted from different areas in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. (see photos on the last part of this article). 

The Maginhawa Community Pantry has been replicated in at least 40 other areas as other Good Samaritans were inspired to help people in need.

The first known community pantry is located on Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, started by Ana Patricia Non.

In previous interviews, Non said she, too, was affected by the pandemic and wants to give back.

Inspired by the movement, more community pantries are being set up. Food and other items, also from donors, are available for free with the reminder to get just enough for one’s needs.

On Matiyaga Street in Quezon City, residents put up their own community pantry filled with vegetables given by farmers. Supplies ran out quickly as mothers, workers, and  drivers lined up for the goods.

Photo by Elijah San Fernando

The pantry is located at 34 Matiyaga in Barangay Pinyahan, near the Urology Center of the Philippines.

On P. Noval Street in Sampaloc, Manila, a table has been set up and filled rice, noodles, vegetables, and canned goods.

Photo by Toots Vergara

The pantry will be available from 10 am to 6 pm beside the Mang Tootz Food House.
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Meanwhile, labor group Defend Jobs Philippines put up a similar effort on Matimyas Street, also in Sampaloc.

Photo by Defend Jobs Philippines

In-kind donations may be dropped off at 2011 B Matimyas Street, while cash donations may be sent via GCash to 09155670410.

Outside Metro Manila, community groceries are also available at the Grove, Batong Malake in Los Baños, Laguna.
Photo by Ja Abdel

It is open until 6 pm or until supplies last. In-kind donations such as fruits and vegetables are also welcome.

Since its launch on Wednesday, the Maginhawa Community Pantry has helped many people in need and brought out the bayanihan spirit in Filipinos.

Here are other community pantries in the Philippines.

Intramuros, Manila

INTRAMUROS COMMUNITY PANTRY Bukas na ang Intramuros Community Pantry sa Plaza Roma. Nagpapasalamat ang pamunuan nito...

Posted by Manila City Updates on Saturday, April 17, 2021

Brgy. Napindan, Taguig City

Photo by Vhon Quilao

Barangay Lumingon, Tiaong, Quezon

Photo by Letlet Lector

Community pantries sprout all over the country after the viral one in Maginhawa

This is the new trend in dining today!

The pandemic has certainly reshaped the way we live today – wearing masks everywhere, temperature checks anytime we enter an establishment, toting a spray bottle of alcohol on our purse.

Making safety the priority in serving their customers, the food industry placed focus on providing safe outdoor dining spaces.

RELATED: DTI says outdoor dining allowed under MECQ
You’ve probably seen restaurants convert even their parking areas into makeshift alfresco areas. 

But why this sudden shift to making sure there’s outdoor dining? Health experts, like those from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), explain that adequate ventilation and the ability for proper social distancing greatly decrease the spread of airborne transmission of diseases and infections like COVID-19.

So when you take off your mask to eat, wouldn’t it be perfect to do it in a space that’s uncrowded and open-air? Let’s make it even more perfect by creating outdoor dining spaces that put safety first but are also picture-worthy.

SM Mall of Asia opens more outdoor dining areas

Known for its wide space, SM Mall of Asia owned a lot of open spaces, perfect for al fresco dining!

Experience a safe and fun outdoor while enjoying Al Fresco Dining of your favorite meals with your family and friends from one of the following locations:
  • L1 & L2, North Entertainment Mall 
  • L1 & L2, North Veranda 
  • North and South Arcades 
  • North and South Main Mall 

SM Aura Premier reimagines Sky Park

Supporting the many food establishments located inside this upscale mall in BGC, SM Aura Premier transformed sections of its Skypark at the 5th Level into safe outdoor dining areas.

There, customers have the opportunity to keep enjoying the food they missed during strict lockdowns while feeling secure that the mall has their best interest in mind.

The Skypark Courtyard, a section on the other end of the Skypark which is nearer Ramen Nagi, Mesa, Yabu, and the like, takes a more minimalist chic approach. Fully open-air rectangular gazebos are dressed up for that stylish, LA-feel.

SM AURA PREMIER OUTDOOR DINING Other outdoor dining areas in Taguig: 👉 #TaguigFoodtrip🍴

Posted by Taguig Food Trip on Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Apart from providing picture-perfect spaces, SM Aura Premier also encouraged restaurants to have their own outdoor dining set-ups. Prego, Barcino, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf all have alfresco tables for their dining customers.

Down at the Upper Ground Level, SM Aura Premier did not forget their walking and biking community. They have set up the Pocket Park which is conveniently located just outside Starbucks, Providore, and Cibo.

This open-air area allows the walking community to quickly grab a coffee or a meal and sit comfortably without walking going inside the mall. The biking community has even more reasons to make use of the Pocket Park as it already has bike racks for bike-riding customers to park and dine right next to their beloved ride.

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SM Megamall recreates their open spaces

While you can still order food from the restaurants and food establishments inside the mall, you can take it out and bring your food to one of these Mega Outdoor Dining spots locations:
  • GL, Mega Fashion Hall Terrace
  • UGL, Mega A Covered Walkway
  • GL, Mega Strip A & B, J. Vargas

Perfect way to dine in and catch up with your love ones!

SM City Bicutan transforms their South Streetside

In the south part of Metro Manila, SM City Bicutan also recreated their outdoor areas into SOUTH STREETSIDE Al Fresco Dining Area.

Order meals to go from your favorite SM City Bicutan restaurants and head on to the Entrance 5 (near Starbucks) at Bldg. B to experience dining out doors with your family, friends or even on your me time. 

READ NEXT: AsiaTown, a new alfresco dining in McKinley West, Taguig

SM City East Ortigas opens East StrEATS

Last but not the least, this mall from the East side metro also repurpose their driveway area.

Thinking of a safe dining spot at SM City East Ortigas? Visit the Al Fresco Dining Area at the East StrEAT Driveway.

This is ideal for your mall visit that provides shoppers a safe space to enjoy your meal while following strict health protocols. ❤️

These are just some of the SM Malls that converts and reinvents their outdoor areas for you to still enjoy dining outside home without worrying about the COVID-19.

This is their way of making sure that customers are safe from COVID-19.

Which of these are you looking to visit soon? Tell us in the comment section below.

SM Malls transformed their open spaces into al fresco dining areas

There's now enough crispy-sarap fries for everyone in Jollibee's newest offering.

The homegrown fastfood chain on Thursday introduced the Jolly Crispy Fries Bucket, the bigger version of the famous Jolly Crispy Fries that people love to snack on.

You can now share your favorite crispy-sarap fries with everyone! Order via Take Out and enjoy the new Jolly Crispy...

Posted by Jollibee on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

"One of Jollibee’s most popular products are the Jolly Crispy Fries, so we’re happy to give people more of it to share with their loved ones in the new Jolly Crispy Fries Bucket," said Jollibee Assistant Vice President for Complementary Products Mari Aldecoa in a statement. "It’s sure to satisfy families and even housemates whenever they’re bonding."

Priced at P129, the Jolly Crispy Fries Bucket is good for sharing for up to four people.
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However, some of the people who already tried it doesn't agree with it. Some claimed that they can eat two or more of the bucket of fries.

What are your thoughts about this? Share your comments below!

Bucket of Fries? Here's what's new from Jollibee Crispy Fries!