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Manila allows churches to increase seating capacity 

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Churchgoers from different religions expressed gratitude after seating capacity inside churches, mosques, and chapels in the city of Manila was raised to 30 percent from the previous 10 percent, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Sa wakas makakasimba na ng mas maayos at hindi na makikisiksik sa labas ng simbahan (finally I can now attend the mass properly inside the church instead of just standing outside with so many people),” said Leny de Guzman in an interview on Tuesday.

Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso signed on Monday Executive Order No. 41 allowing religious gathering up to 30 percent of the seating capacity of the church, mosque, or chapel.

“There is a need for the city to address the spiritual needs of its constituents to promote not only the social and economic well-being but also their spiritual wellbeing,“ said Domagoso.

In the same order, Domagoso also allows individuals from 18 to 65 years old to leave their homes.

With the announcement, senior citizens in the city expressed gratitude.

Salamat po mayor, makakasimba na po yung mga senior (thank you, Mayor, seniors can now attend mass),” said Violeta Samson in her post.

Manila residents who are frequent churchgoers said that despite the more relaxed guidelines, minimum public safety health protocols should not be disregarded.

They said people should already get used to the ‘new normal’ of observing safe physical distancing, wearing face masks and face shields, and frequent hand washing.

Domagoso clarified that minimum health protocols should still be observed and that church officials and other religious leaders will help assure that these are followed.

He added that with the previous 10-percent seating capacity, he noticed adequate space inside the church.

However, outside churches, those who were not allowed to enter are left standing together with so many other people attending the mass outside.

“Thank you Mayor Isko Moreno for your strong Leadership. The citizens can now freely worship and pray to the Father God inside the church solemnly. Father God is with us in the worst times,” Mila Elopre said in her Facebook post.

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