In-person Christmas parties are now allowed this holiday season, but the government is still emphasizing compliance with minimum health regulations and for organizers to exercise caution.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allows establishments in areas under Alert Level 2 to hold "social events" such as parties and reunions. As of today, Dec. 3, the whole country has been placed under Alert Level 2 according to acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles. This comes as Apayao has been downgraded to Alert Level 2, leaving no area now under Alert Level 3.
Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household, as well as establishments with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences are also ok.
Indoor venues may cater up to half capacity for fully vaxxed individuals, while those under 18 years old, even if still unvaccinated, are also allowed. Outdoor venues, meanwhile, may have a seating capacity of 70%.
But Maria Rosario Vergeire, spokesperson of the Department of Health, said people should still exercise caution.
Vergeire urged employers to require workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 first before attending parties.
"Marami kasi sa ngayon ang nagiging kampante na lalo na't bumababa ang COVID infections at pinapayagan na ang booster shots sa pagpasok ng Kapaskuhan," Vergeire said in a Dec. 3 briefing.
She also advised against having buffets in parties, as it will keep attendees too close and run the risk of infecting each other.
If it were for the DOH undersecretary, it would be much better if the Christmas parties are held virtually.
"Sana po we can do this kind of sacrifices so that we can be able to prevent further infections in the community, in our population."
The country has been seeing the number of new COVID-19 infections south of 1,000 for the past few days.