New Normal SONA Requires Face Masks, Lean Audience

There will be strict distancing, screening.
Photo/s: House of Representatives - Philippines Facebook page

On top of their traditional Filipino attire, the audience during President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address on July 27 will wear face masks and face shields at all times, illustrating how health standards have become the norm because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duterte will deliver his penultimate SONA in person at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City, where physical distancing, as well as sanitation, disinfection, and health screening will be observed. There will also be floor markings of at least six feet apart at every entrance, elevator, and area with foot traffic.

Here are the rest of the ground rules for the event:

Limited attendance

According to House Secretary-General Luis Montales, the number of congressmen present during the resumption of sessions Monday morning will be no more than 25. They will also be the same ones who will also attend the SONA in the afternoon.

No media members other than the Presidential Broadcast Staff-Radio Television Malacañang will be allowed inside the Batasan.


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Strictly screening

Those who will enter the session hall, among other attendees, are required to undergo swab and rapid testing.

At each building entrance, guests have to submit health declaration forms and have their body temperature checked.

Sanitation station

House sergeant-at-arms Ramon Apolinario said the House of Representatives would be put on lockdown on July 24 for security and disinfection purposes. Police and fire marshals will secure the complex.

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