The Bishop has released further guidance for parishes in managing the risk of COVID during Mass.
Although we are due to reach ‘Freedom Day’ soon when the final restrictions have been lifted, we are asked to relax our processes slowly in keeping with the high incidence of COVID locally.
The Bishop has written to parishes the following letter:
Please find attached the information sent by Bishops’ Conference yesterday, 15th July. In order to help people feel safe and secure in our churches, I strongly recommend that we maintain the wearing of masks, social distancing, the service of stewards, and the standard of sanitising the Churches we have so far employed. As and when it is felt at the local level that restrictions can be eased, this should be done gradually throughout the summer and into the autumn taking into account the state of the spread of the virus and its effects on the local community, society in general and the NHS. I would suggest that even congregational singing should be mitigated by wearing masks. Similarly, I would suggest that hymn books are not used at this stage and perhaps gradually introduce hymn sheets for that particular mass which people should take with them when they leave and dispose of at home. If individual churches decide to increase numbers or decline to follow these recommendations, then the decision and the responsibility is theirs. You will need to review and amend your risk assessments as things develop. I therefore commend to you the help and advice offered by our own Health and Safety personnel, who are only too willing to assist you in any way.
I reiterate that people will only return to our churches if they know that they are safe and secure places.
The Parish will slowly relax our COVID policies over the coming weeks but there will still be some mitigations in place:
You will be asked to wear a mask while in Church and to maintain social distancing.
You must still book in for weekend mass.
You must scan our QR code or record your name and contact details for weekend Mass.
Hopefully, as the numbers affected allows, we can continue to relax restrictions further in due course.