After almost 11 months, the government’s pandemic task force has relaxed restrictions on religious gatherings, allowing up to 50 percent of the venue capacity in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) starting February 15.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement days ahead of the Ash Wednesday next week.
In a statement, Roque said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases made the decision during its meeting on Thursday, February 11.
“[The IATF] relaxed restrictions on mass gatherings for religious activities in areas under GCQ effective February 15, 2021,” he said.
“Specifically, religious gatherings in GCQ areas shall be allowed up to 50 percent of the seating or venue capacity,” he added.
In a virtual presser, Roque said the IATF relaxed the restrictions on religious gatherings because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) attack and hospital utilization rates.
“Hindi naman tumataas ang ating attack rate at hindi naman po masikip ang ating mga hospitals (The attack rate is not increasing and our hospitals are not crowded),” he said Friday morning.
“In other words, wala po tayong problema pagdating sa rating (we have no problem when it comes to) utilization rate,” he added.
Religious gatherings in GCQ areas are currently allowed up to 30 percent of the venue’s capacity only.
Metro Manila, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Batangas Province, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur, and Iligan City are under GCQ for the month of February while the rest of the country is under modified GCQ.