The Italian bishops and government have agreed on a protocol to allow the public to be present for liturgical celebrations starting on 18th May.
In an effort to avoid spreading the coronavirus, a series of restrictions will be in force, such as wearing facial masks inside the church, social distancing between individuals and no choir being present.
People also are asked not to go to church if they are showing flu-like symptoms, have a temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 F), or know they have been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
The protocol, which was signed today, 7th May, specifies the guidelines each church and the faithful will have to follow in order to help safeguard public health, the Italian bishops’ conference said in a statement on its website.
The agreement came as a result of “deep collaboration and synergy between the government, the technical-scientific committee and the bishops,” said Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, adding that the Church was committed to helping end the Covid-19 crisis.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the procedures and restrictions outlined in the protocol are meant to ensure the public could once again attend liturgical celebrations with the utmost safety.
“I thank the bishops for the moral and material support that they are giving the entire nation in this difficult moment for the country,” he added.
Picture: A choir singer gives a solo performance in an empty church during a Mass via livestream in San Fiorano, Italy, on 6th May 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Marzio Toniolo via Reuters).