A Church official assured that strict measures will be observed inside churches and chapels when these reopen on Sunday as the provincial government allowed the resumption of religious gatherings after over two months of suspension.
Diocese of Tagbilaran chancellor Fr. Algerio Paña in an interview over station dyRD on Saturday said that only 25 percent of a church’s seating capacity may be filled based on guidelines agreed upon by government and Church officials.
According to Paña, churches will also observe a one-entrance, one-exit policy to monitor and limit the number of people going inside.
Footbaths will be installed in all of the entry-exit points which will be manned by church personnel who will check the temperature of churchgoers using a thermal scanner.
They will also examine churchgoers if they are experiencing other symptoms such as colds and cough.
“Pusilon ang atong temperatura aron matino ang atong body temperature, aron masiguro na wat ay hilanat, dili pag-ayo init ang atong lawas. Importante na kaayo,” he said.
Markings are placed on pews to indicate where churchgoers may sit and ushers will be deployed to assist them.
Churchgoers are also urged to wear facemasks throughout the duration of the Holy Mass and are discouraged from physical contact including the holding of hands during the singing or recitation of the “Our Father” prayer.
Names of those attending the Mass will also be recorded to help authorities in their processes should contact tracing be launched involving a churchgoer.
Paña said that individuals will be required to write their names and time of the Mass on a piece of paper and drop it in a box as they exit the church.
“Para ni og simbako og naay contact tracing sa umaabot, wa man ta kahibaw sa mga pangahitabo aron mahibaw-an kinsa ang mga taw ang nanimba niining maong misa,” he said.
Meanwhile, senior citizens who are only allowed to go out of their homes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to attend Mass on those days.
Governor Art Yap, in his Independence Day address on Friday, 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.