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Isko: Health protocols to be observed during Simbang Gabi

Isko Moreno and Charlie Dungo
File photo of Mayor Isko Moreno with DTCAM chief Charlie Dungo. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

MAYOR Isko Moreno yesterday announced that the City of Manila will be holding 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. anticipated masses or ‘Simbang Gabi’ leading to Christmas eve at the Bonifacio Shrine beside the Manila City Hall, beginning December 15. He stressed that health protocols mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) will be strictly observed.

Moreno directed department of tourism, culture and arts of Manila (DTCAM) chief Charlie Dungo to polish the implementing rules for the masses, where Catholic members of the city’s various offices, departments and bureaus will also take part and help.

Dungo said that under the plan laid out by the mayor, a single entry point will be designated where all the mass attendees will undergo checking of temperature and required to wear face masks and face shields. The daily masses will be celebrated by the Minor Basilica in Quiapo or more commonly called, ‘Quiapo Church.’

Moreno said the purpose of designating a lone entry and exit point aims to ensure that the crowds will be controlled and made to observe the health protocols since COVID-19 is still in our midst.

According to Dungo, the mayor had ordered the DTCAM to provide free face shields to those who do not have or cannot afford to buy one, since the city had been receiving many donations of face masks and face shields.

The site, according to Dungo, has a capacity of over 2,000 on any normal given day but with the protocols in place, the number of mass attendees who will be allowed might be reduced to only 100 in order to ensure that the required social distancing is met.

Dungo added that Moreno had discussed plans to assign city personnel in several churches to undertake the provision of face masks and face shields during the traditional dawn masses.

Moreno said those who cannot attend the said anticipated masses physically may hear the mass online, since they will also be featured live on Facebook.