Many dioceses are making plans on how to reopen their parish doors now that states are loosening restrictions on public gatherings. But how will this work?
I recently read an article from Cologne, Germany where the archdiocese is working with the local soccer club, FC Köln, and is using their ticketing system for the churches that have limited capacity due to the current social distancing restrictions. Brilliant!
Currently, in the U.S., many dioceses are giving basic guidelines and asking churches to come up with plans specific for their individual locations.
Here is a list of guidelines published by the local diocese for individuals who should not attend Mass as the doors open:
- Persons over the age of 60
- Persons who are ill or pregnant
- Any person who is immunocompromised
- Any person with respiratory issues
Some additional restrictions and guidelines were also provided to ensure everyone’s safety:
- Restrooms are only available for emergency use
- Social distancing of 6 feet is required at all times
- The church must be sanitized after all Masses
- Face masks must be worn by all in attendance
Due to these restrictions, my parish has opted to remain closed and continue streaming services. The parish across town will hold live services and follow the given protocols. Either way, it is important to extend grace to parishioners and our leaders regardless of their decision. It is time to be cautiously creative in our returns and our timeframes. It is also a time to remember that we are a family, and even though we may not see each other as often, our connection goes beyond the physical church service.