As the pandemic reached out to the Philippines, everything had changed. Temperatures are taken in the entrance of the establishments, face masks, and face shields are used within malls and other premises, people are only allowed to go out in their houses to buy foods and other essentials. It has also been a downfall of many businesses and affected employees.
After a year of being isolated and implementing the standard health protocols, some of the provinces or areas in the Philippines have been put on Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), while others remain in Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for high-risk areas. On the other hand, the DILG has informed the Filipino that the areas are now on MGCQ.
According to the Municipal Local Government Operations Officer in San Vicente Rustico B. Dangue said that “Sa MGCQ, 50 percent ng carrying capacity ng venue ang dapat i-observe plus ang minimum health protocols. Ang essential gathering hindi lamang po iyong ginagawa ng national government or ng local government units, even churches or other private – ‘yung mga corporations they can do essential gathering,”.
In a meeting with the IATF, on May 20 they had declared that mass gatherings. They are allowed to carry the 50% capacity of the venue with implementing health protocols. Only essential gatherings from the national government, local government units, churches, and private corporations.
“Ang kailangan lang natin when there are proposed mass gathering activities na pu-p’wedeng pumasa sa omnibus guidelines ay mayroong corresponding written application at kasama po rito ang disenyo ng mass gathering, yung lugar na pagdarausan, bilang ng mga partisipante na target at saan mangagaling ang mga participants,” Dangue added.
Under the Memorandum Circular No. 2021-050 that was signed on May 5, 2021. It was issued to direct all Local Government Units (LGU) for the implementation of the guidelines from the IATF to the prohibition or limiting public or mass gatherings.
“Pinapayagan ang kasal pero according to our local protocols hindi tayo p’wedeng tumanggap ng mga bisita coming from outside of San Vicente. Yung religious rights sa simbahan o any sect ay pinapayagan provided na 50 percent lamang po ang kanyang magiging holding capacity.”
For the organizations, local government, and others that need to have an essential gathering may submit their application on the MIATF and design activity and implementation of the health protocols including wearing of face masks and face shield is a must. Meanwhile, non-essential gatherings, illegal gamblings such as cockfights, and mass procession are still prohibited according to the law.
Based on the OMNIBUS Guidelines with Amendments as of April 15, 2021, from the IATF states that “Gatherings shall be allowed up to fifty percent (50%) of the seating or venue capacity. Provided that participants shall strictly observe the minimum public health standards, and the establishments or venues where the gatherings will take place shall strictly comply with ventilation standards as provided for under relevant issuances of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).