Churches Allowed to Reopen as World's Longest Christmas Starts

Venues can be filled up to 10% capacity.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Religious gatherings can resume starting Tuesday in GCQ and MGCQ areas at 10 percent of the venue capacity, Malacañang said, as millions in the Philippines marked the start of the world's longest Christmas season.

This includes Metro Manila, home to roughly a tenth of the country's 100 million people. Most Churches have been shut since the start of virus quarantines last March and this development gives hope that a few could be physically present in masses instead of just watching livestreams.

"Pinayagan na po ang 10 percent seating capacity. Sa NCR (National Capital Region), pinayagan na rin po ang religious gatherings up to 10 percent hindi lamang sa 10 katao (The 10 percent seating capacity is now allowed. In the NCR, religious gatherings up to 10 percent capacity, not just 10 people, are allowed)," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.

Duterte Extends GCQ in Metro Manila, Most of Philippines Under MGCQ
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The entire country will remain under some form of COVID-19 quarantine at least until Sept. 30, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday, signaling that restrictions will stay as authorities move to flatten curve or cap the rise in infections while waiting for a vaccine.

Aside from Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Bacolod and Tacloban will be under GCQ. The rest of the country will be under MGCQ. Iligan City is under Modified ECQ, the second highest quarantine.

Ahead of the announcement, authorities said gyms and grooming services could reopen at limited capacity in GCQ and MGCQ areas starting Sept. 1.

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