Caroling strictly prohibited
The Quezon City government on Saturday announced it would shorten the curfew between midnight to 3 a.m., starting December 16 to give way to Simbang Gabi.
This was in accordance with the latest pronouncements of the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Metro Manila Council (MMC).
“Bahagi na ng pagdiriwang ng kapaskuhan at ng ating kultura ang Simbang Gabi kaya kahit may pandemya, nais nating panatihiling buhay ang diwa nito,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.
(Simbang Gabi has been a part of our culture and Christmas celebrations. This is why we want to continue the tradition despite the pandemic.)
But Belmonte said devotees should not exceed 30 percent of the venue’s capacity and basic health protocols must be followed, such as social distancing and wearing face masks and face shields.
“Hindi natin dapat kalimutan na mayroon pa ring pandemya at kailangan tayong mag-ingat upang maiwasan ang pagkalat ng virus,” she said.
(We should not forget there is still a pandemic, so we need to be careful spreading the virus.)
Quezon City adjusted its curfew hours, a few days after San Juan City passed a similar ordinance.
But Belmonte prohibited caroling and encouraged families to limit Christmas and New Year celebrations to the immediate household.
“We also strongly discourage commingling of multiple households in activities, such as large family reunions,” said Belmonte, adding that non-essential gatherings of more than 10 persons remain strictly prohibited.
People between 15 to 65 years old are allowed to leave home, provided that they have a company ID, school ID or any government-issued ID. Those younger or older than the permitted ages may leave home only to buy essentials.
Public gatherings shall be allowed subject to health protocols.
For trade shows, bazaars and the like, or when otherwise applicable, organizers are required to obtain a special permit from the city's Business Permits and Licensing Department.
"Whenever feasible, gatherings should use open-air venues or naturally ventilated indoor venues," Belmonte said.
Organizers of work-related or commercial gatherings must keep a log of all attendees for contact tracing purposes. The city government also encourages the use of a digital contact tracing method, such as SafePass for easier contact tracing.