Catholic churches to reopen with new guidelines
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Catholic parishes in the United States and Canada are preparing to reopen with new guidelines for Mass. Various diocese are issuing new guidelines to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 as parishioners return.
Catholic churches have survived the pandemic with strict social distancing measures. Now, they are preparing to reopen.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Catholic dioceses are issuing guidelines to parishes in anticipation of reopening soon. Some have already opened, and some have returned to a closed status following outbreaks. As it appears SARS-CoV-2 infection rates are falling, the push to reopen grows. The new guidelines will help protect parishioners until a vaccine is introduced.
Among the guidelines are no holy water in fonts, no physical contact, especially during the Our Father and sign of peace, no presentation of the gifts, reception of Communion in the hand only, and no offering of the Precious Blood. Some parishes may enforce social distancing, asking parishioners to remain spaced apart during Mass, unless they live together. Some parishes will be told to operate at low capacity, meaning only a small number of parishioners may be allowed to attend each service.
Most diocese will reopen their parishes within the next few weeks, although some may remain closed in areas where infection rates are high. If infections spike following reopening, some diocese may close again. And this pattern may repeat in the months to come, as the world grapples with the lingering pandemic.
Coronavirus is exceptionally infectious, even more than the flu. It can be more dangerous for people who are elderly or have certain conditions. However, for most healthy people it is not so serious. Most young individuals experience few symptoms, if any. However, they may spread the virus to others who are not so healthy.
Our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 is muddled by a lack of clear information and statistics, and a lack of peer-reviewed research. There is a lot of anecdotal information, but very little is actually understood. This will remain the case for many more months until studies can be performed and peer reviewed.
In the meantime, basic procedures will suffice to protect almost everyone. Those who are at risk of complications should stay home along with those who are ill. Those who go out should wear facemasks when close to others, to prevent spreading germs. The masks help prevent you from infecting others and are for their protection. Social distancing should be practiced, as well as frequent use of handwashing and hand sanitizer.
These simple remedies should keep most people from being infected as this disease burns itself out. A vaccine is expected within the next year.
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