Religious gathering, work in gov't in areas under GCQ allowed, subject to certain conditions - IATF
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has decided to allow religious gathering and work in government at full operational capacity in areas under the general community quarantine starting May 1.
In a virtual press briefing on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this was contained in IATF Resolution No. 30, which President Rodrigo Duterte has approved.
For religious gatherings, Roque, however, said there were certain conditions to be followed.
"That essential work gatherings and religious activities may continue so long as strict social distancing, defined as the strict maintenance of at least two-meter distance between and among those attending, and the mandatory wearing of face mask, face shield, or other facial protective equipment by attendees, is maintained during the entirety of the event," he said.
Those areas under the enhanced community quarantine are prohibited from holding any mass gathering, including religious activities.
In places under ECQ, pastors, priests, imams or such other religious ministers whose movement shall be related to the conduct of necrological or funeral rites are allowed.
"In this connection, immediate family members of the deceased from causes other than COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) shall be allowed to move from their residences to attend the wake or interment of the deceased upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the latter and social distancing measures," Roque said.
In areas under GCQ, Roque, who is also the IATF spokesman, said that work in government offices may be at full operational capacity, or under such alternative work arrangements as agencies may deem proper in accordance with relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission.
Also under GCQ, he said as a general rule, no hotels or similar establishments shall be allowed to operate.
But the exceptions are for areas outside Luzon, those guests who have existing booking accommodations for foreigners as of May 1; guests who have existing long-term bookings; distressed overseas Filipino workers and stranded Filipinos or foreign nationals; repatriated OFWs in compliance with approved quarantine protocols; non-OFWs who may be required to undergo mandatory facility-based quarantine; and healthcare workers and other employees from exempted establishments under the Omnibus Guidelines and applicable Memoranda from the Executive Secretary.
"Provided that in all of the foregoing, hotel operations shall be limited to the provision of basic lodging to guests," Roque said.
The IATF is also allowing road, rail, maritime, and aviation sectors of public transportation in areas under GCQ, but they shall operate at a "reduced capacity in accordance with guidelines issued by the DOTr (Department of Transportation)," he said.
He said all public transports, shall strictly observe one meter distance between passengers.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in the same press briefing, said jeepneys would not still be allowed to operate under GCQ.
Buses, on the other hand, should be at up to 50 percent capacity only when they operate, he said.
Duterte has ordered the implementation of modified quarantine measures in the country. Those areas with high cases of COVID-19 have been placed under ECQ until May 15, while other places with low-risk to moderate-risk of coronavirus infection will be under GCQ.
Roque said beginning May 16, all decisions to impose. lift, or extend a community quarantine in provinces, highly-urbanized cities and independent component cities shall rest with the IATF.
"This notwithstanding, provincial governors shall be authorized to impose, lift, or extend ECQ in component cities (CCs) and municipalities upon the concurrence of the relevant regional counterpart body of the IATF. Local chief executives of cities and municipalities are authorized to impose, lift, or extend, ECQ in barangays, upon the concurrence of the relevant regional counterpart body of the IATF. This is without prejudice to the authority of the IATF to directly impose, lift, or extend ECQ in these areas should circumstances call for it," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS