MANILA, Philippines – Just hold it for a month, the government is telling couples whose wedding plans may be affected by a looming lockdown of Metro Manila aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez admitted there were no particular guidelines yet for weddings. But because the guiding principle of the lockdown is “social distancing,” couples should consider postponing weddings until after April 15, or else cut the number of guests, the two Cabinet members said in the Laging Handa media briefing on Friday, March 13.
The lockdown order bans mass gatherings of people, which may include weddings.
“Prohibited po. Pasensya na po (It’s prohibited. I’m sorry). They’ll have to…” Nograles failed to finish his sentence as the briefing room broke into laughter.
Lopez said the Cabinet should include weddings when they draft guidelines for the lockdown later in the day.
“Hindi ho mapipigilan ang pag-ibig. Bawasan na lang nila ‘yung guests…makakatipid pa sila (There’s no stopping love, They should just cut back on the guests…they’ll end up saving money),” Lopez suggested.
Depends on the size of the room
Because social distancing means people staying at least one meter away from one another, couples should decide the number of guests based on the size of the hall where they plan to hold the ceremony and the reception, Nograles said.
“An informal estimate would be 50 guests, but it really depends on the size of the room,” he added.
And if the idea is to keep each other at least an arm’s length, “Paano magki-kiss yung couple? Paano yung distansya nung couple?” Nograles jested. (How can the couple kiss? How about the couples’ distance?)
In the time of the coronavirus, love must prove itself “timeless and boundless,” Nograles said.
“What is one month’s postponement for love?”
Lopez looked at the more practical concern: what about those who’ve placed reservations at hotels and restaurants, and have already made down payments?
“Dapat ho may refund, kasi force majeur po ‘yon. So huwag sila matakot,” the trade secretary said. (They should be refunded because that’s force majeur. They shouldn’t worry.)
If the establishments give them a hard time, couples may file a consumer complaint with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its hotline 1384.
The DTI will take the customers’ side and ensure they get their refund, Lopez said.
On Thursday night, March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a “community quarantine” or “lockdown” of Metro Manila as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus reached 52, most of them residents of the metropolis. – Rappler.com