Ahead of Simbang Gabi, gov’t allows 30% capacity for religious gatherings in GCQ areas

Pia Ranada

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Ahead of Simbang Gabi, gov’t allows 30% capacity for religious gatherings in GCQ areas

Catholic faithful attends the novena mass at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine in Baclaran, Paranaque City on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Physical distancing and wearing of face shield and face mask are strictly being enforced as churches can now accomodate 10 percent of their capacity.

Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

Previously, religious gatherings like masses were only allowed at 10% seating capacity

The Philippine coronavirus task force has approved a 30% seating capacity for religious gatherings like masses in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas like Metro Manila, Malacañang announced on Friday, October 23.

The decision comes as the predominantly Catholic country gears up for the Christmas season, when attendance to Simbang Gabi or Night Mass is a tradition.

“We had to cancel All Saints’ Day, our cemeteries are closed, and we’ve canceled many religious gatherings. So maybe, somehow, we can still continue our Christmas traditions though Simbang Gabi will only be at 30%,” Roque said in Filipino during a PTV interview.

Simbang Gabi  is the Filipino tradition of attending mass at dawn, or in the evening, for 9 consecutive days in preparation for Christmas. It begins on December 16 and ends on Christmas eve, December 24.

Prior to the decision, GCQ areas were only allowed to hold religious gatherings at 10% of venue capacity.

Metro Manila mayors had appealed to the national task force to increase this to 30%.

Due to the pandemic, the government closed all cemeteries on the week of Undas (All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day), or from October 29 to November 4.

Next year’s Traslacion, or the annual procession for the Black Nazarene attended by millions of Filipino devotees, was also canceled. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Sleeve, Clothing, Apparel


Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.