Restrictions on religious mass gatherings remain in place even under the less stringent community quarantines implemented throughout the country, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said religious leaders met with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Monday to discuss the easing of constraints on mass gatherings for religious purposes.

The meeting discussed the implementation of minimum health standards such as social distancing and wearing of masks.

However, the IATF has decided to keep the ban in place.

“Nagkaroon po ng desisyon na hindi muna papayagan ang mass gatherings for religious purposes. I cannot say when mapapayagan po `yan pero titignan po natin ang datos,” Roque said in a televised Palace press briefing.

He added that the restrictions might be modified or lifted through subsequent IATF rulings, but the government would track the doubling rate of Covid-19 cases in different areas before making a decision.

IATF guidelines on religious gatherings state that only a maximum of 10 people are allowed in areas under general community quarantine.

Manila Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo previously called the restrictions “laughable,” and said the government should impose a one-meter or two-meter social distancing rule instead of barring religious gatherings almost completely.

The ban has been in place since mid-march. John Ezekiel J. Hirro