‘No mask, no entry’ policy in Philippine churches

The Catholic Church in the Philippines will be implementing a “no mask, no entry” policy in all churches across the country under the “new normal.”

Father Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the public affairs committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said the policy aims to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The bishops’ conference has earlier issued guidelines for liturgical celebrations under the “new normal” that includes the mandatory wearing of masks for faithful attending Masses.

“All will have to have a mask,” said Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila.

The protocol for religious service earlier released by the Archdiocese of Manila states that people attending Mass and other church services should wear face masks.

The protocol said marshals and ushers should see to it that all people in the church and its offices should wear face masks.

“For those who do not have, low priced face masks should be available in the parish offices,” it added.

The bishops, however, said they still have no plan to list the names of those attending religious services for possible contact-tracing later.

“We will not adapt to have a log book for those who will attend the Holy Mass,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga.

Bishop Pabillo said there is also no such requirement from the government’s inter-agency task force, adding the church leaders are still waiting for approval of their guidelines from the government.

“So far they do not require registration of names, but if they do we can find ways to do it,” said the prelate.

A number of dioceses in the country have yet to resume the public celebration of Masses under the government’s new quarantine protocols.

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