MANILA, Philippines – Worship places under the general community quarantine have started testing the waters. Currently, authorities have put religious gatherings on 10% dry run.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the government has chosen select worship places for the study.
Guevarra said, “Thereafter, 10 percent attendance in all religious worships in GCQ areas will begin.”
“In (modified GCQ) MGCQ areas, 50 percent attendance has been allowed since July 1,” he added.
Prior, the government allowed religious gatherings to accommodate at most ten participants. The said provision applied for worship venues in Metro Manila.
Later, the Inter-Agency Task Force for Infectious and Emerging Diseases allowed greater population density. Some reports also claimed that priests and church workers received positive results for COVID-19.
Guevarra said that the purpose of the said process was to see the effectiveness of health protocols. With this step, they are abte to iterate inefficient procedures before relaxing quarantine.
The relaxing of quarantine will allow more population density in these areas. The government will allow churches to entertain 50% of its capacity.
Religious gatherings dry run results
The DOJ chief added, “… this is without prejudice to the discretion of the churches and religious congregations to voluntarily suspend worship activities at any time should there be any visible threat of COVID-19 transmission.”
Within the interim phase of the quarantine easing, the government reported a case of COVID-19 already. The said was from the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene’s visiting priest.
Due to that, authorities decided to put them on lockdown from June 19 to July 4.
Quiapo Church parochial vicar Fr. Douglas Badong reassured that parisioners and church staff are now following strict quarantine protocols.
“The people have shown discipline. They understand that they need to wait in line if they want to hear mass inside… ” said Badong. He clarified that the total capacity of the basilica is 10,000. However, with quarantine protocols, they can only accommodate 1,000 devotees.
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