LGUs in the Philippines

Cebu City allows chapels to hold mass, confession

John Sitchon
Cebu City allows chapels to hold mass, confession

WORSHIP. Residents can now visit their local chapels and attend the Lenten First Friday mass.

Photo from The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu

MASS. This Holy Week, Cebu City residents can attend First Friday services, while officials study the possibility of other Lenten activities as COVID-19 cases go down

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City is now allowing in-person religious activities like fiesta masses and chapel confessions, provided that celebrants and congregations follow Alert Level 3 health protocols, Councilor Joel Garganera announced on Friday, February 11.

Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center, met with parish priests at the Archbishop’s Palace in Dionisio Jakosalem Street, in Cebu City.

“It was announced during the meeting that masses, fiesta masses, and confessions on chapels are now allowed provided that protocols must be put in place,” Garganera said.

Cebu City has been under Alert Level 3 status since January 14. 

During this time, Cebu City’s COVID-19 positivity rate jumped to 43%, prompting city officials to temporarily stop chapel masses and other religious activities.

Under Alert Level 3, religious institutions are only allowed to operate at a maximum of 30% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50% outdoor venue capacity.

According to Garganera, First Friday services have also been allowed. Activities for the Lenten season were also tackled during the meeting but have yet to be disclosed.

Lowered alert level a possibility?

While Cebu City still has more than 3,000 active cases, its daily positivity rate has shrunk from 43% in mid-January to less than 12% as of February 10.

Based on data from the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as of Thursday, February 10, the city’s COVID-19 bed utilization rate is at 39.03%. 

Out of 925 COVID beds, 361 are being occupied by patients with severe symptoms.

This is a big improvement from data released on February 1, when the city’s COVID-19 bed utilization rate was at 61.15%. Out of 713 COVID beds, 436 were being used.

Garganera hopes that by February 16, the national government would deescalate the city’s alert level.

“This is our 4th surge, more or less we are acquainted with its behavior. It’s not just a gut feeling but all indication leads to that direction,” he said. – Rappler.com