MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and so the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has issued guidelines for couples intending to celebrate this romantic occasion in public.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told the Malacañang Press Corps that the following rules have been put in place in keeping with the ongoing Covid-19 community quarantine:
- Dating couples must wear their face mask and face shield at all times, except when eating at a restaurant. There will be no talking. However, texting during the dinner will be allowed.
- They may hold hands but must disinfect with alcohol every 15 minutes. Whenever available, washing their hands with soap and water as often as possible is preferred.
- Kissing is definitely a no-no since it is high risk for the transmission of the coronavirus through respiratory moisture. In its place, IATF suggests that couples follow the new greeting as mandated by Congress: place palm across the chest and do a slight bow.
- When dining in a restaurant where plastic or plexiglass barriers are not installed, couples must bring their own portable plastic barriers.
- When riding in a private car on their way to their date, couples must wear a face mask at all times, even if they live in the same household. The one who is not driving must sit in the back.
- In lieu of fresh roses, IATF highly recommends that plastic, paper or nylon roses be given so as to prevent the temptation to remove the face mask to smell the fresh roses.
- If planning to check in at SOGO or other hotels offering Valentine’s discount room rates, couple must book separate rooms and communicate via zoom or Messenger.
- The only exception to the above rules are couples who have a documented negative RT-PCR test taken no earlier than February 1st, with a repeat test within 72 hours of their planned date on February 14.
- These guidelines apply to all couples regardless of status (married, single, engaged) or sexual preference (straight or LGBT).