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IATF eases restrictions on gatherings, sports

By: Julie M. Aurelio - Philippine Daily Inquirer July 04,2020 - 09:11 AM

FIRST FRIDAY A devotee prays inside the St. Peter’s Church along Commonwealth Avenue, which is now open to parishioners. Only a few visit the church, though, as many have turned to online or livestream Masses to profess their faith. | JOAN BONDOC

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has further eased community quarantine restrictions by allowing a number of activities to resume in a limited capacity.

“For those who want to worship or go to church, religious gatherings are now allowed, but [only] up to 10 percent. This will be effective starting July 10 in GCQ (general community quarantine) areas,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

At present, Metro Manila, Benguet province except Baguio City; Cavite, Rizal, Leyte except Tacloban, Southern Leyte, Ormoc, Leyte; and Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Talisay, Minglanilla, and Consolacion in Cebu province are under GCQ until July 15.

The IATF also eased restrictions on travel agencies in GCQ areas and have allowed these to resume operations as well.

Roque said travel agencies were limited to employing a skeleton workforce to process applications for refunds, since tourism businesses are still not allowed in GCQ areas.

“The travel agencies’ request to reopen was also approved, since many are asking for refunds. But the decision is, they should only have a skeleton force,” he said.

He added that the IATF also did away with the clause limiting the services provided by barbershops and salons to basic haircutting services.

“The Department of Trade and Industry will release guidelines for the gradual resumption of these establishments’ services, along with minimum health standards. As to pedicures and manicures, let us wait for the guidelines although in principle, it will be allowed,” Roque said.

The government also allowed professional players of basketball and football to resume their practice sessions after the Philippine Basketball Association and football associations requested to be allowed to resume practice and conditioning sessions of professional athletes.

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