IATF allows religious gatherings; travel agencies, pro sports practice to resume under GCQ

Religious gatherings of up to 10 percent of the venue's capacity and administration works of travel agencies will soon be allowed under the general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang announced on Friday.

People wearing face masks stand and pray outside an empty Quiapo church, usually filled with devotees during Fridays but now closed due to restrictions to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Manila on March 27, 2020.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced over state-run PTV-4 that the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed more activities and industries to resume under the GCQ.

These include religious gatherings but only up to 10 percent of the seating capacity, or up to 10 persons, whichever is higher, after July 10.

However, the religious gatherings shall be limited to the conduct of religious worship or services and that there should be no objection from the local government unit (LGU).

The different religious organizations should likewise strictly observe their submitted protocols and minimum public health standards, particularly distancing measures, wearing of face masks, and availability of hand hygiene necessities in the premises.

Travel agencies

The IATF also approved the recommendation of the departments of Tourism (DOT) and Trade and Industry (DTI) to allow travel agencies to resume operations in areas under GCQ.

However, their operations shall be limited at skeleton workforce and primarily to do administrative works such as processing of refunds and payment to suppliers.


The IATF has approved the joint administrative order of the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board, and Department of Health that provides guidelines on the conduct of "health-enhancing physical activities and sports" during the pandemic.

"Pinayagan po yung practice and conditioning noong basketball at saka ng football sang-ayon po sa request ng PBA at football associations (The IATF has allowed basketball and football practices and conditioning following the request of the Philippine Basketball Association and football associations)," Roque said.

In a text message, Roque clarified that the joint administrative order only covers professional players because "they requested it."

"Kanto games, not yet. Pros lang (Street games are not yet allowed. Professional players only)," he said.

"But must be applied to all those equally situated. Per Galvez, pwede practice basta (practice is allowed as long as) players tested negative. Volleyball is also okay," he added.

Barbershops, salons

The lATF has also allowed barbershops and salons to provide more than just basic haircut services after it deleted the limitation mentioned in a previous resolution.

The DTI will issue the guidelines that will govern the gradual resumption of other services normally provided in these establishments as long as they are able to follow minimum health standards.

According to Roque, he will clarify with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez if the other services include massage and facial services.