Essential work and small religious gatherings allowed in GCQ

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Thursday, April 30, that essential work and small religious gatherings are allowed in places under general community quarantine (GCQ), as long as safety protocols are in place.

"Essential work gatherings and religious activities may continue so long as strict [physical] distancing – defined as the strict maintenance of at least two meters [of] distance between and among those attending – and the mandatory wearing of face mask, face shield, or other facial protective equipment by attendees, [are] maintained during the entirety of the event," Roque said during his briefing Thursday.

Roque read this out as part of the Omnibus Guidelines for areas under GCQ.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that, although gatherings are allowed in GCQ areas, "mass gatherings" are still prohibited, but added they didn't define a number of people that could be considered as mass.

"Kasi 'pag sinabi mong sampu, magpipilosopo 'yan, maggugrupo sila nang siyam. Ang importante dito ay distansiya, two meters at walang magkakasama at magkakatabi," said Año.

(If you say [maximum of] 10, they would act smart and will group in 9s. So the important thing here is distance, two meters, and they shouldn't be close to each other.) 

Año said the allowed gatherings shall be "relevant." 

For areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ, pastors, priests, imams, and other religious ministers may only be allowed to move for the purposes of necrological or funeral rites.

"In this connection, immediate family members of the deceased from causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed to move from their residences to attend the wake or interment of the deceased upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the latter and social distancing measures," said Roque. –


Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.