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Waze makes food runs, essential errands faster during quarantine with app enhancements

Now more than ever, trips should be planned wisely

A month into the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, this should be clear already, but it bears repeating: Unless your job classifies you as a frontliner or you’re in need of emergency medical care, you may only be considered an authorized person outside residence (APOR) if you’re the sole representative of your household going out for food, medicine, and other essential services. And to clarify, no, you shouldn’t be venturing halfway across the metro to procure necessities that are readily available within your city.

To make driving out for essential errands as safe and seamless as possible during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Waze has tapped its volunteer communities, Waze for Cities programs, and other partners to make region-specific app enhancements for users in various countries.

Validated road closures and red zones are added to the map as they are reported. Here in the Philippines, the COVID-19 medical testing centers in Metro Manila, Baguio, Cebu, and Davao are also searchable in the app by typing ‘COVID’ or ‘covid’ in the destination search bar. Do keep in mind, however, the Department of Health’s testing protocol: In its COVID-19 briefing on April 14, the agency clarified that “assessment by a licensed health professional remains a prerequisite before one could get tested for COVID-19,” and that this may be done through telemedicine consultations especially for mild cases.

Also indicated on the app are Waze’s partner products that offer drive-through and curbside-pickup services to comply with social-distancing guidelines.

Businesses may update their information by getting in touch with Waze’s support team. Governments around the world, meanwhile, can contribute data on their medical testing centers and food distribution locations via a dedicated COVID-19 landing page. Once validated, the data will be added to the map.

Of note, data shows that globally, Waze’s users are currently driving 60% fewer kilometers compared to the February daily average. In the Philippines, specifically, users are driving 88% fewer kilometers versus the February daily average. To further discourage users from hitting the road, the app puts out a ‘Luzon Quarantine’ notification every 24 hours. So, if you don’t have a valid reason to be out, just stay put at home—the consequences of going outside could be far graver and more costly than being issued a ticket.

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