The Dioceses of Novaliches and Cubao will lock down their churches starting Monday to help stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
Novaliches Bishop Roberto Gaa said the initiative was prompted after his talk with the local government of Quezon City.
Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, Bishop of Cubao, imposed the same order although they will reopen on April 5, Easter Monday, a day after Novaliches resumes their services.
Most activities are livestreamed via their official Facebook pages.
“In the light of my conversations with Mayor Joy Belmonte of Quezon City, explaining some hard data coming from OCTA, it appears that there is a strong need, even major imperative for our parish churches to go into a lock down. This in order for us to help arrest the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, especially in this part of Metro Manila where our Diocese is located and where some 11 barangays out of 20 are greatly affected,” he stated in Circular 2011-06 dated March 20, 2021.
Gaa said if nothing drastic is done and things are left as they are now, the worsening situation may spill to other places.
“As you may know, almost half of new cases daily come from households and workplaces. Given this fact, it would appear that the only way for us to control the further upsurge of Covid cases is to restrict the movements of people, including those movements by the same people from their workplaces and their homes into and out of our churches,” he added.
Gaa also urged offices in parishes to cut down their workforce to half and asked people to stay home.
“We urge our people to please stay home and simply follow these activities online. We also urge parish offices to cut down their workforce to half and even restrict the movements of their church personnel to church building and grounds only,” he said.
Ongtioco likewise encouraged the faithful to stay home.
“This is the time for prudence, courage and love. This is to encourage the faithful to stay home and keep them safe,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
Ongtioco added that closing churches “worship at the highest point of our liturgical year is heartbreaking” but must “open our eyes to a situation that puts many of our faithful at risk.”
“Numbers are surging and scientific data show that unless drastic interventions are done, these numbers will not decline anytime soon,” he stated.
Gaa said by closing their churches, he is “confident that we can contribute to the containment of the present Covid-19 surge and give us enough time to strategize our way forward.”