Church gatherings up to 10% capacity allowed in GCQ areas starting July 10

Starting July 10, churches in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) will be allowed to accommodate 10 percent of its capacity.

Only 10 devotees were allowed to enter per mass in Quiapo Church, June 2, 2020. (Quiapo Church / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) in Manila, for instance, will allow around 200 people inside the church.

Quiapo Church rector Msgr. Hernando Coronel said the government’s decision to allow religious activities in GCQ areas, although with limitations is a welcome development.

“We only used to allow 10 people inside the church. Now, we will be able to accommodate around 200 parishioners. There will be someone seated in every pew. The faithful are happy with this development,” Coronel said in a Manila Archdiocese post.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATFEID) has allowed the resumption of religious activities in GCQ areas but only up to 10 percent of the church’s seating capacity starting today, July 10.

Many churches have been conducting a dry run since July 5. Msgr.

Coronel said they will ensure that the safety protocols are observed at all times.

“We will implement strict social distancing, temperature checking, wearing of masks, and hand sanitizing. We will also be disinfecting the pews regularly and the equipment used during the online activities of the church,” he said.

He added that there will be more church volunteers needed to assist in the new normal in the holding of religious gatherings.

The Church leader said Quiapo Church prioritizes the safety and protection of its parish workers.

“We just came from a quarantine. Work was suspended. The rector’s office was closed. The church will have to be closed again if we get another COVID-19 case. We have to be mindful of the health of the devotees,” Coronel said.

The prelate called on the faithful to remain vigilant and to always observe safety measures. He encouraged those who cannot be accommodated inside the church, particularly the elderly, to just join their online masses.

“The Quiapo Church's online masses, which are being crossposted on the Facebook pages of other parishes and religious groups and organizations, helped increase viewership and at the same time encourage more faithful to donate online, providing support to the church,” Coronel said.