Why are gyms and fitness centers allowed to operate in general community quarantine areas, while churches aren’t?

This was what puzzled Caloocan Bishop Pablo David, who slammed the government’s move to lock churches down “during the holiest time of the year.”

“In spite of our adherence to strict protocol you lock down our churches during the holiest time of the year and allow 70 percent capacity in fitness centers and 50 percent in establishments for personal care services, including spas?!!!” he wrote on Facebook.

“All right. may God have mercy on your souls!” he added.

David said churches were not given a chance to craft their own protocols to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 as the government’s directive “came as an instant order.”

“If this is not a return to [a] total lockdown situation, why forbid our religious gatherings? Isn’t this a violation of religious freedom?” he added.

Mass gatherings, including religious gatherings, are prohibited in the “NCR-Plus” bubble, which consists of Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said residents living within the bubble were not allowed to leave the bubble even for the traditional Holy Week Visita Iglesia.

According to the Department of Health, Covid-19 variants from South Africa and the UK have already clustered across all Metro Manila cities.

Metro Manila has 38,268 active Covid-19 cases as of March 21.

This year, Holy Week will be observed from March 28 to April 3. John Ezekiel J. Hirro