Simbang gabi under the new normal requires attendees to follow safety protocols and observe social distancing in church.
Image source: Quiapo Church Facebook page
(evening mass) is a tradition many Filipinos look forward to every holiday season. Like most Christmas activities and practices, simbang gabi
changed due to the pandemic since religious events are considered public gatherings. Last year, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) set rules for simbang gabi
to avoid spreading COVID-19 in all churches
to follow safety and health protocols.
Unlike last year, face shields are no longer required when attending simbang gabi
. This 2021 restriction continues due to the threat of the Omicron variant—particularly in terms of standard safety protocols
like wearing face masks. However, the focus is on enforcing the public to observe social distancing
; that’s why the National Capital Region Police Office announced last December 8 that they’re planning to bring back “yantok”
sticks as their disciplinary tool. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), yantok
sticks will only be used to avoid touching and maintaining physical distancing among attendees and remind them to follow social distancing.
Some local government units in Metro Manila set their holiday guidelines. For one, the Quezon City local government set its guidelines for November 26. The policies cover mass gatherings like Christmas parties and simbang gabi
. According to the procedure established by Mayor Joy Belmonte, the mentioned events are allowed as long as attendees conduct contact tracing and follow standard health protocols
. She encourages churches to adjust mass schedules instead from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Streaming of simbang gabi
is highly enabled for residents who couldn’t physically go to church.
As for Valenzuela City, attendees need to bring their vaccination cards and Valtrace QR codes as part of the health protocol. The CBCP has yet to release the final official guidelines for the simbang gabi in Metro Manila.
Visit Yoorekka Magazine for more travel and COVID-19 updates and guidelines in Metro Manila!
All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. However, while we are making our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, and the situation develops rapidly. Hence, some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.
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