Cebu Province now allows religious gatherings

File photo

GATHERINGS for religious purposes and for the provision of critical government services within the Province of Cebu are now permitted.

On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order (EO) 17-A series of 2020, amending Section 4 of EO 17 which defines the general community quarantine protocol, standards and guidelines to be observed by all persons within the Province of Cebu.

Under the new measure, social gatherings, tourism activities and gambling activities that would result in close person-to-person contact, and gatherings of groups and crowds shall be prohibited.

Also not allowed are mass gatherings such as but not limited to movie screenings, concerts, sporting activities and events, other entertainment activities and community gatherings.

Gatherings for the provision of critical government services while adhering to the prescribed minimum health standards shall be allowed.

“Religious gatherings are not encouraged and shall be limited to not more than 10 persons,” reads a portion of EO 17-A.

Earlier, Garcia said the Provincial Government will adopt the measure, which allows gatherings that are essential for the provision of government services or authorized humanitarian activities in all quarantine levels.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution 38 on May 22 which specifies the kinds of mass gathering activities that are allowed at all levels of community quarantine provided that these follow the minimum public health standards issued by the Department of Health.

Simpler ceremonies

With the lifting of the ban on weddings, the wedding suppliers in Cebu have come up with plans that will suit not just the couple’s needs but also the IATF guidelines.

Joan Lapus, spokesperson of the Cebu Wedding Suppliers, which has around 1,000 members, told SunStar Cebu they have greatly suffered because over 2,000 events, including weddings, have been postponed since March 2020 due to Covid-19.

As a result, wedding planners, florists, technical people, photographers and other people involved in the wedding industry have lost their income.

Lapus said some wedding planners have shifted to food deliveries and other services so they could continue paying the rent of their shops.

Some were also beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program by the Department of Labor and Employment.

Rabbie Arnejo and Nigel Amistad, owners of Joshua Events and Party Services, said their services remain open for couples who want to push through with their wedding despite the unusual circumstances.

“We simplify everything for an intimate wedding and offer basic wedding services that would fit this new normal. Hopefully, this would work and their weddings will push through,” Arnejo said.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma on Monday, May 25, issued a new protocol on weddings in parishes under general community quarantine or modified enhanced community quarantine.

Parishes will require couples to have simple weddings with only the couple, their immediate family and one set of principal sponsors allowed to attend.

Meanwhile, the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Lahug, Cebu City told SunStar Cebu, they will still be able to host all types of weddings.

“With Waterfront’s very large function halls, we definitely have an advantage in terms of new space requirements,” the hotel said in a statement.

The hotel also assured that social distancing will be still be strictly observed.

“We will also come up with new and exciting menus which are being designed by our culinary team headed by our Corporate Executive Chef Giovanni Sias, our Executive Chef Alan Mathay and Executive Sous Chef for Banquet Kristhan Sijera when buffets will no longer be an option,” the hotel said. (RTF, JOB)


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