More people allowed at religious services in GCQ areas

More people allowed at religious services in GCQ areas

Parishioners attend Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Quezon City on Feb. 11, 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTON CARABEO

By CBCP News

February 12, 2021

Manila, Philippines

Churches in the country’s capital region will now be allowed to open up to 50 percent of their capacity for worshippers, Malacañang said Friday.

The government’s Covid-19 task force has eased the current limit of 30 percent of capacity for churches in areas under the general community quarantine.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the eased restrictions will commence on February 15.

While some protocols are now being relaxed, Fr. Jerome Secillano of the bishops’ public affairs committee urged the faithful not to be complacent.

“We urged the public to still exercise caution as Covid-19 hasn’t been extinguished yet from our midst,” Secillano said.

“We are still not safe from this virus and its unpredictable nature makes it really a threat to everyone’s health,” he added.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, administrator of the Manila archdiocese, has earlier asked the government to consider increasing church capacity during services.

He made the statement after the Octa research team reported no spike in Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila after the Christmas holidays and last month’s Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Pabillo stressed that religious gatherings are nothing to be afraid of when proper mitigations are in place.

Most dioceses in the country are in areas under the more relaxed modified GCQ, where churches may hold services at 50 percent seating capacity.

Authorities also allowed the opening of more businesses like cinemas, museums, and tourist places like theme parks and historical landmarks.

Limited social events are also permitted at accredited establishments of the Department of Tourism.

The easing of restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic comes as the government moves to revive the economy amid the impact of the health crisis.

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