Most celebrations wouldn’t be complete without music, and hearing carolers sing is a sign that Christmas day is fast approaching. Both the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) snd Department of Health (DOH) allowed caroling this year provided that individuals observe minimum health protocols.
Hearing the song Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit during the holiday season continues to be a classic to Filipinos. But it might sound a bit muffled this year since Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that singers have to wear a face mask and face shield while performing.
‘The public needs to understand that when we sing, respiratory particles are emitted,’ Vergeire emphasized. She said that there are risks in “voice-related activities” especially when it involves high-risk members of the population such as the elderly. But she advised that it can be lessened when conducted outdoors, with proper distancing.
The DOH spokesperson also added that “there are no explicit provisions against caroling, although (local governments) are encouraged to develop specific guidelines based on their respective local settings.”
Meanwhile, Interior Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya told ABS-CBN News that carolers need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they push through with their tradition indoors.
‘Under Alert 2, caroling is allowed provided that (minimum public health standard) is strictly followed and subject to the operational capacity of the venue of the caroling: 50 percent and vaccinated individuals only if indoor, and 70 percent if outdoor,’ Malaya explained.
Similar to Vergeire’s explanation, Malaya also said that carolers must wear face shields “as of now” since the decision of removing the use of face shields isn’t final yet. However, that policy might still change. The Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 will meet on Thursday to discuss whether to scrap or retain the mandatory use of the protective gear.
Banner: Francis R Malasig/EPA