MANILA — The Quiapo Church administration said on Saturday it had adopted government policy on the optional use of face masks, even indoors.
Rev. Douglas Badong, the vicar of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, said the church only advises the public to be “sensitive” with those around them.
“Kung gusto mong mag-face mask, okay lang; kung ayaw mo naman, okay lang din. Pero, please be considerate kung sakaling meron kang katabi na ayaw nang walang face mask, so kailangan mo lang magging sensible din,” he told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview.
Priests and other church staff were also not required to wear face masks.
“Kapag nasa altar, nagtatanggal ako ng face mask dahil malayo naman na sa tao. Pero ‘pag nagpapa-komunyon o lumalapit sa tao, nagsusuot ulit ako ng face mask,” Badong said.
On Saturday, most people inside and outside the Quiapo church are still wearing face masks despite being aware of the easing policy.
“Eh Hindi pa naman nawawala ang COVID huh. Mas gusto ko pa rin talaga naka – facial mask. Mabuti ‘yun kasi senior na ako no, para may proteksyon ako,” 73-year-old Elvie Mira said.
“Naguguluhan din ako eh [sa COVID situation]. Hindi ko alam kung talagang meron pa o ano, pero naga-ano ako kasi maraming tao kaya nagma-mask pa rin ako,” seller Herbert Barnuevo said, adding that he wanted to protect his 8-month-old and 2-year-old children. at home.
Meanwhile, administrators at major malls across the country said they had already started allowing the voluntary use of face masks.
SM Supermalls, Ayala Malls and Robinsons Malls said they had already informed their merchants and service providers of the new policy.
Although wearing face masks is optional, mall administrators said they still encourage their employees and customers to continue wearing face masks and following minimum health protocols.