QC gov’t bans mass gatherings, community celebrations
MANILA, Philippines — Public gatherings and community celebrations like fiestas and festivals are now banned in Quezon City.
This comes as the Department of Health confirmed Wednesday detection of the UK COVID-19 variant in the Philippines – a male Filipino from Quezon City who traveled to Dubai last December 27 and arrived in the Philippines on January 7.
According to Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, all mass gatherings in anticipation of the various religious events and cultural festivals would be prohibited in order to avoid the further spread of the coronavirus disease.
It is unclear though whether the local government’s declaration was related to DOH’s latest announcement about the UK COVID-19 variant.
“Many QC barangays traditionally celebrate fiestas and other festivals this month and in the coming months. Unless regulated, these celebrations could lead to mass gatherings and encourage the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Belmonte said in a memorandum.
“Isakripisyo muna natin ang mga nakaugalian tuwing may ganitong pagdiriwang para na rin sa ating kaligtasan,” she added.
(Let’s sacrifice for now our traditions during these celebrations for the sake of our own safety.)
Based on her directive, parades like religious-related Santacruzan, the setting up of stalls and fairs (perya) during festivities, and other public performances like fireworks display and street dancing that may spur crowding and disregard physical distancing would be disallowed.
“Public games and contests, such as pageants, singing or band contests, bingo, pabitin, paluan ng palayok, agawan, or tug of war are also banned,” it also said.
Also prohibited are group contact sports like basketball, and social events like public buffets, boodle fights, and public drinking, and other celebratory gatherings that do away with minimum health standards.
“Persons may only drink at home or inside restaurants or establishments, subject to health protocols,” Belmonte said.
Meanwhile, Holy Masses and other religious solemnities or traditional rituals may still continue, but subject to strict health protocols which include the wearing of face masks and face shields, and physical distancing.
As for the coming Chinese New Year in February, the Quezon City mayor said the conduct of Dragon Dance or Lion Dance shall be allowed “provided that the same shall be held in one designated area only, like the stage of a mall, with the audience seated and socially distanced, with mask and face shield.”
The local government, meanwhile, assured it is taking care of the male patient infected with the UK COVID-19 variant.
“The City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) has conducted contact tracing on the resident’s close contacts upon his arrival like the health workers at the isolation facility where he was brought, and the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) that brought him from the hotel to the isolation facility,” it added.
“The CESU is waiting for the DOH to submit the list of passengers who were on the same flight as the patient from Dubai to contact trace passengers who may be from Quezon City,” it also said.
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