Philippines says seminars, trainings partially allowed in GCQ areas

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2020 09:03 AM | Updated as of Dec 04 2020 12:53 PM

The Ortigas business district. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA (UPDATE) - Workshops, trainings, seminars and other related events will be partially allowed in areas under general community quarantine, Malacañang said Friday, as authorities loosened coronavirus curbs to open up the economy. 

The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response, allowed the following events to be held in GCQ areas, with venues to be filled up to 30 percent of their capacity, said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. 

  • Workshops
  • Trainings
  • Seminars
  • Congresses
  • Conferences
  • Board meetings
  • Colloquia
  • Conclaves
  • Symposia
  • Consumer trade shows 

Permitted venues include restaurants in general, restaurants attached to hotels, ballrooms and function halls within hotels, venues within hotel premises, and mall atria, Roque said in a statement. 

The IATF, which met Thursday, directed the tourism and trade departments to issue guidelines on this, he said. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) said Friday it was elated with the IATF's decision, which it described as encouraging for the country’s Meetings, Incentives, Conferences Exhibitions (MICE) sector.

"While the pandemic has taught organizers to embrace technology, some gatherings in a physical set-up can now proceed, with health and safety protocols in place," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

However, the tourism chief clarified that social events like birthday, wedding, Christmas and office parties, pageants, award events, gala receptions and shows are not covered by the resolution.

Also prohibited are product launch events, political gatherings, cultural festivities and sporting events, she added.

Local government units (LGUs) may also issue additional guidelines providing for stricter protocols among venues within their jurisdiction.

“The DOT shall continuously work on improving our guidelines and policies, making sure that these remain responsive to the changing needs of the industry, as the COVID-19 situation continues to be addressed,” Puyat said.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and 7 other areas under GCQ until year-end. Only select businesses are permitted to fully operate under this quarantine status. 

The rest of the country is under modified GCQ, the least stringent in 4 lockdown levels. 

The Philippines has tallied over 435,000 coronavirus infections, which have prompted 8 months of lockdown that dragged the economy into recession and left millions jobless. 

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