Churches in Bohol will be permitted to reopen on Sunday, June 14, but will only be allowed to fill its seating capacity by 25 percent as the province remained under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), Governor Art Yap said on Friday.
Yap, in his Independence Day address, said that he was given the green light by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases for the partial reopening of churches in Bohol for the celebration of masses and services.
According to Yap, the initiative will serve as a trial run for churches which will be allowed to open at 50 percent capacity when the province shifts to the less stringent Modified GCG.
The 25-percent reopening also covers other religious services, not just Catholic masses.
“Sa karong mga panahona under General Community Quarantine mass gatherings are not yet allowed sa tinuod ra. But we have recommended to the IATF to give Bohol and the Dioceses of Talibon and Tagbilaran a chance, in a way, to prepare and practice for a possible MGCQ status,” Yap said.
The governor clarified that the 25 percent allowance only covers the area inside churches and chapels as churchgoers are not allowed to stay and congregate outside their places of worship.
“Mo hanyo ko sa Diocese of Tagbilaran and Dioces of Talibon ni Bishops Abet Uy and Dan Parcon na kung pwede ang mga taw sa gawas they cannot congregate outside the chapel or church. They have to be accommodated 25 percent inside the church,” he said.
Churchgoers will no longer be required to present their community quarantine passes as the entire family may be allowed to attend the masses together.
Meanwhile, Yap will still have to consult mayors and health officials to determine if it would be safe to allow senior citizens to have a window period for them to be allowed to go out of their homes to attend Sunday mass.
Amid the implementation of the 24-hour curfew for senior citizens, those aged 65 and above are only allowed to go out of their houses on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The measure was implemented as part of efforts to keep the elderly safe as they have been pinpointed by health authorities as more susceptible to severe coronavirus disease (COVID) 19 infection.
The provincial government and the rest of the country suspended masses in late March as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 when the contagion took off in the country. (A. Doydora)