Starting June 1, religious gatherings in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) will be allowed as long as they occupy only half of the church or religious venue.
This was announced by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday, May 30, on behalf of the national government coronavirus task force.
Guevarra led the dialogue between government and religious groups.
"Religious gatherings will be allowed up to 50% of the capacity of the church or venue in MGCQ areas by June 1," he said.
MGCQ is the most relaxed form of community quarantine imposed by the Philippine government.
How about GCQ areas? But in areas under GCQ, like Metro Manila and Cebu City starting June 1, only religious gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed.
This may change after a dialogue of government officials with religious sectors and local government chiefs to be held on Monday, June 1.
The national government task force is set to make a final decision on the same day, said Guevarra.
Previously, religious leaders had made detailed suggestions on how to impose health protocols during masses and other religious activities. But not all local government officials were convinced.
"However, some local government officials have expressed concern that increasing the number of participants in religious gatherings may spark an upsurge in COVID-19 infections and derail their advancement to a more relaxed MGCQ regime," said Guevarra.
These concerns will be on the agenda of the June 1 meeting.
Only the following areas will be under GCQ from June 1 to 15:
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.