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THE Quezon City government has formally banned public gatherings in anticipation of the upcoming fiestas, religious events, cultural festivals and other community celebrations to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019.

“Many QC barangays traditionally celebrate fiestas and other festivals this month and in the coming months. Unless regulated, these celebrations could lead to mass gatherings and encourage the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Belmonte said in memorandum dated January 12, 2021.

“Isakripisyo muna natin ang mga nakaugalian tuwing may ganitong pagdiriwang para na rin sa ating kaligtasan,” she added.

In her order, Belmonte has prohibited processions, parades, Santacruzan and the like and public celebrations such as fairs, perya, variety shows, fireworks displays, ati-atihan or other public performances.

Public games and contests, such as pageants, singing or band contests, bingo, pabitin, paluan ng palayok, agawan, or tug of war are also banned.

Belmonte also barred the holding of group contact sports such as basketball, public buffets and boodle fights, and public drinking, including drinking outdoors or on sidewalks.

“Persons may only drink at home or inside restaurants or establishments, subject to health protocols,” Belmonte said.

Also banned are group videoke or other celebratory gatherings that violate social distancing, noise pollution or other noise nuisances due to excessive merrymaking, commingling of multiple households through large parties or traditional “open door” fiesta celebrations; and any other non-essential or non-work gatherings.

Belmonte said modest celebrations conducted within the home, among immediate family or close acquaintances are allowed, subject to social distancing and other applicable health protocols.

Also, masses, other religious solemnities, religious or traditional rituals for the purpose of blessing a building or establishment may continue, subject to strict health protocols such the wearing of face mask, face shields and social distancing.

Celebrations conducted primarily for an online audience, with very limited physical attendance are also allowed.

As for the coming Chinese New Year, Belmonte said the conduct of Dragon Dance or Lion Dance activities shall be allowed provided that the same shall be held in one designated area only, like the stage of a mall, with the audience seated and socially distanced, with mask and faceshield.

The city’s Law and Order Cluster, regulatory departments, barangays, and the Quezon City Police District are ordered to strictly enforce the memorandum.

Violators may be penalized under Republic Act No. 11332 or the Notifiable Diseases Act, various city ordinances and other pertinent laws.

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