THE DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminded the public on Wednesday that gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) level.

Interior Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III said in an online briefing that “mass gatherings” are not allowed under GCQ, which means more than 10 people should not converge.

He added that the national government discourages family reunions and other parties during the holiday celebrations and have asked local government chiefs and the police to be on full alert status for mass gatherings.

Mr. Densing warned that violators may be fined or sanctioned based on local ordinances.

The Interior department is also preparing to issue a directive to local governments and the police to set up a hotline number for reporting mass gatherings as well as those using karaoke, which is deemed a high transmission risk activity.

In another briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo B. Nograles said the easing of restrictions on conventions and conferences comes with risk management measures from the private businesses and local governments.

“We have the commitment of the private sector partners and the LGUs (local government units) to really ensure that safety and health protocols are enforced in these conventions then it is something we can afford to take as a calculated and managed risk,” he said.

Under the national task force’s Resolution No. 85 released last week, conferences, trainings, and similar activities are now allowed at a maximum 30% capacity of the venue.

Social events such as  birthdays, weddings, Christmas and office parties, pageants, award events, gala receptions; product launch events; political gatherings; cultural festivities; and sporting events are still prohibited.

Mr. Nograles said the opening of more activities is part of the government’s plan to balance health risks with bolstering the economy. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Gillian M. Cortez