MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – It goes without saying that one of the sectors most negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the Philippines is the Catholic Church. One could only imagine the extent of lost revenue from Sunday collections, baptisms, funerals, and yes, church weddings.
But slowly and surely, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is reinstating church ceremonies, starting with weddings, albeit with new, strict guidelines and requirements to comply with appropriate health safety protocols.
Here are the new guidelines for Filipino couples wishing to contract matrimony in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ):
1. The bride and groom, sponsors, entourage and guests must all submit a certificate that they have tested Covid-19 negative in a PCR test. The test must have been conducted no earlier than seven days before the day of the wedding.
2. The bride and groom must wear a face mask and a face shield throughout the ceremony. This is for the protection of the officiating priest and altar boys. All others must wear a face mask.
3. The total number of church attendees must not exceed 30 people. However, the church will allow live streaming via Facebook or Zoom to enable more people to witness the ceremony.
4. Throughout the ceremony, the bride and groom will stand, sit or kneel six feet apart.
5. The bride and groom must disinfect with alcohol or sanitize each time they hold hands during the ceremony.
6. No live singers or choir will be allowed due to the danger of respiratory droplets being spread.
7. There will be no kissing of the bride after the church ceremony.
8. The newly-wedded couple must sign a promissory note to sleep in separate bedrooms for 14 days from the day of the wedding.
9. In addition to the usual wedding fees, the wedding party will be asked to pay a surcharge of 30-50 percent, depending on the size of church, to cover the cost of disinfecting the church before and after the ceremony.
10. As always, any additional donations to the church will be highly appreciated.