Health guidelines if religious gatherings allowed again–CBCP

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The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines prepared guidelines to ensure anti-COVID-19 measures observed if the Inter Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allows public religious gatherings to resume, the organization said.

“Yung guidelines, nare-reflect doon ‘yung mga health protocols na pinatutupad din ng IATF para sa buong bansa. At ang minimum standards na nakalagay roon, kailangan magsusuot tayo ng mask. Ire-require din ng simbahan na magsuot ng mask’ yung mga magsisimba. Kailangan meron tayong social distancing—one meter or two meters,” Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, told GMA News  on Tuesday.

“Meron pang mga footbath. Meron pang pagde-determine ng temperature ng bawat papasok sa simbahan. Yung mga liturgy mismo ay meron ding innovations,” he added.

The priest officiating the mass need not wear a mask, Secillano said, because he is alone at the altar.

“Yung mga sacristan, kung nandoon sila sa kanilang upuan, magma-mask sila. Pero yun naman pong mga pari na nandoon naman po sa altar, solo lang naman din siya at malayo rin naman sa tao, hindi naman necessarily kailangang ipag-mask,” Secillano explained.

“Yung mga readers natin, kapag sila ay nakaupo lang, hindi pa nagbabasa, magsusuot sila ng mask. Pag nandoon na sila sa lectern na kanilang tatayuan para basahin yung reading, hindi na sila kinakailangang magsuot ng mask. Pero yung mga microphone na gagamitin nila, kanya-kanya. Hindi kinakailangan na magshe-share ng microphone. Provided ng simbahan at lagi ‘yang dini-disinfect,” Secillano added.

Before giving communion, the priest will disinfect his hands in front of the parishioners.

“Unang-una bago siya bumaba para mag-distribute ng communion, ipapakita sa mga tao na siya ay maglilinis talaga ng kanyang kamay. May disinfectant, may alcohol. Ganundin ‘yung mga tinatawag na extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. At pangalawa na mababago, hindi na sasabihin ng pari doon sa individual communicant na, ‘The body of Christ.’ Bago siya bumaba, itataas na niya yung host at sasabihin na niya sa lahat ng tao, ‘The body of Christ,’ Secillano said.

Churches will also have a receptacle for offerings at the entrance.

“Kung sakali man iikot yung mga ushers o di kaya greeters and collectors, ang gagamitin nila ay yung basket na may stick para hindi talaga sila lalapit doon sa mga tao at hindi na rin magpapapasa-pasa ng basket,” Secillano added.

Secillano is part of the technical working group that recommended that public religious celebrations be allowed under the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, provided that social distancing and other health protocols continue to be practiced.

The IATF has yet to decide on the matter./Stacy Ang

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