PH government asks couples to delay weddings due to COVID-19

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2020 06:01 PM

Filipino couples kiss while wearing their face masks in a government-sponsored mass wedding in Bacolod City, Philippines, Feb. 20, 2020. Bacolod City Public Information Office, Handout/Reuters

MANILA - The Philippine government on Friday urged couples to consider postponing their weddings for at least a month as Metro Manila is set to undergo "community quarantine" to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This, after the government prohibited large gatherings, including social events such as weddings, and imposed stringent social distancing protocols in an effort to prevent new infections.

Though the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 response has yet to release particular guidelines for weddings, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said couples should look at moving their event after April 15 or at least reduce the number of guests.

“Hindi ho mapipigilan ang pag-ibig. Bawasan na lang nila ‘yong guests… makakatipid pa sila,” Lopez said. 

(Love can't be stopped. They should reduce the number of guests... they could even save money.)

“An informal estimate would be 50 guests, but it really depends on the size of the room,” Nograles, meanwhile, said.

“Siyempre sa wedding, paano magki-kiss ang couple? Paano ang distansya ng couple? Ang daming adjustments na kailangang gawin,” the official continued.

(During the wedding, how will the couple kiss? What about their distance? There are a lot of adjustments that need to be done.) 

Lopez said that couples should expect to be refunded if they have already paid for their reservations at hotels and restaurants. 

If not, couples may file consumer complaints with the Department of Trade and Industry (DIT) through its hotline 1384. 

“Dapat ho may refund, kasi force majeure po ‘yon,” Lopez said.

(There should be a refund because this is force majeure.)

Celebrity couple Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati have postponed their wedding this Saturday due to the COVID-19 threat.

"As much as we want to celebrate our love with our family and friends, in light of the recent situation we have decided to postpone our wedding as we do not want to put anyone at risk," they said. 

"Thank you so much to those who flew in and to everyone who worked so hard for our special day. We only wish good health for everyone and we hope to celebrate with you as soon as things get better. Much love, Richard & Sarah."