Religious mass gatherings up to 50% capacity in MGCQ zones OK’d

Religious mass gatherings up to 50% capacity in MGCQ zones OK’d

MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed the partial resumption of religious mass gatherings in areas placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, citing the IATF-EID’s Resolution 43 approved on Wednesday, said religious services would be permitted at “50 percent of the seating capacity.”

“Sa mga lugar na MGCQ, pupwede na pong magkaroon ng mass gatherings para sa religious purposes pero po hanggang 50 percent lamang ng seating capacity (For areas under MGCQ, mass gatherings for religious purposes are allowed but it will only be at 50 percent of the seating capacity),” Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.

He said the IATF-EID has expressed confidence that strict physical distancing would be observed when the partial conduct of religious activities in areas under MGCQ begins.

“Mabuting balita po sa mga talagang gusto na talagang magpunta sa simbahan (Good news for those who really want to go to church),” he said. “Ang konklusyon naman is, baka pupwede, dahil kapag 50 percent naman, pupwedeng mag-social distancing (The conclusion is social distancing could be observed [if attendance to the religious activity is limited to] 50 percent capacity).”

The latest approval came after the IATF-EID failed to mention in its previous guidelines how religious gatherings would be held in places under MGCQ.

In the guidelines it released in May, the IATF-EID allowed the conduct of religious activities in areas put under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ), so long as the maximum number of participants remains at five and 10, respectively.

The MECQ has been lifted after the quarantine measures to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak were relaxed on June 1.

From June 1 to 15, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Central Visayas, Zamboanga City, Davao City, Mandaue City, and Cebu City would be under GCQ, while the rest of the country would be under MGCQ.

On Wednesday, Malacañang said the faithful could continue their “personal” relationship with God even sans the conduct of religious activities amid the health crisis.

IATF-EID Resolution 43, which was released by the Palace on Thursday, also noted that work conference would be allowed in places where MGCQ is imposed, provided that participants are limited to “50 percent of the seating or venue capacity.” Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos /PNA –