Gov’t to allow religious gatherings at 10% capacity in GCQ areas

JC Gotinga
Services besides haircuts will be allowed in salons and barber shops, too, pending official guidelines

CLEANSING. A worker disinfects pews at a Catholic church in Quezon City on May 19, 2020. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s policy task force on the coronavirus pandemic has agreed to allow religious gatherings at 10% of the venue’s capacity in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), including Metro Manila.

“Para naman po sa talagang gusto na pong magsimba, pinayagan din po ang religious gatherings ‘no pero hanggang 10% lang po ‘no, at ito po ay epektibo sa July 10, 2020, sa areas na GCQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a televised briefing on Friday, July 3.

(For those who really want to attend mass, religious gatherings have been allowed, too, but up to just 10%, and this will be effective July 10, 2020.)

There will be a “dry run” on Sunday, July 5, Roque added. Minimum public health standards like physical distancing and wearing face masks will be mandatory.

The rule allowing religious gatherings at up to 50% in areas under modified GCQ still holds, he said.

More than just haircuts

Meanwhile, the policy task force will also no longer limit permissible salon and barber shop services in GCQ areas to just haircuts, said Roque, who is also spokesperson for the task force.

However, this will be subject to pending guidelines from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which would ensure minimum public health standards are followed.

“So iyong mga pedicure, manicure – antayin muna po ang guidelines. Bagama’t in principle papayagan po iyan, antayin lang natin ang guidelines ng DTI,” Roque said.

(So for pedicure, manicure – let’s wait for the guidelines. Although they’ve been allowed in principle, let’s just wait for the DTI’s guidelines.)

In the same briefing, Roque also announced that practice and conditioning sessions for basketball and football athletes will no longer be prohibited under GCQ.

Along with these, the policy task force has also approved the second phase of the National Action Plan on the pandemic, which would balance ensuring public health and safety with reviving the economy that has taken a hit because of coronavirus lockdowns.

As of Friday, the Philippines’ coronavirus cases breached the 40,000-mark, reporting 40,336 cases with 1,280 deaths and 11,073 recoveries. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.