ONLY individuals fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease or Covid-19 are allowed to attend the masses inside churches and other venues for the duration of Misa de Gallo and Simbang Gabi in Mandaue City from Dec. 16 to Dec. 24, 2021.
This after Mayor Jonas Cortes on Monday, Dec. 13, issued Executive Order No. 38 establishing the guidelines concerning the conduct of such activities.
Under the EO, only fully vaccinated individuals are allowed entry into indoor masses with a maximum capacity of 50 percent.
Unvaccinated individuals, on the other hand, can still attend the masses but only limited to outdoor venues which are still subject to 70 percent maximum capacity.
All parishioners, regardless of age, are required to wear face masks for the duration of the mass.
Churchgoers who cannot attend the masses physically can still join through live-streaming as church administrators are urged to provide links or alternative sources of viewing.
In an interview, lawyer John Eddu Ibañez, executive secretary of Cortes, said they would allow minors to attend, provided that they are accompanied by vaccinated parents or guardians.
The children, however, must wear face masks. Adults are discouraged by Ibañez to go to churches with children who cannot wear face masks.
More than 15 venues in the city, including the satellite venues such as gyms and chapels, will be used to diffuse overcrowding in churches.
From Dec. 16 to 24, Misa de Gallo shall be held at 3 a.m. while Simbang Gabi masses will be held starting at 6 p.m.
The curfew will also be temporarily adjusted from 12 midnight to 2 a.m. starting Dec. 16 to allow churchgoers to physically attend and hear the masses without being apprehended.
But Ibañez clarified that any person found loitering in public places away from the church vicinity and without any valid purpose will be liable for the violation of the curfew.
In line with this, Ibañez said church marshals as well as the barangay public safety officers, police officers and other force multipliers, will be deployed to monitor the venues to ensure the compliance with the minimum health standards and check the vaccination status of the churchgoers.
The enforcement team is also directed to apprehend individuals who insist on violating such guidelines.
Churches are also allowed to conduct masses between 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to welcome Christmas and New Year on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, respectively.
Church administrators are requested to place signage indicating the “No Mask, No Entry” policy and other reminders at the premises for the guidance of the churchgoers. (MKG)