As Illinois prepares to enter Tier 3 coronavirus mitigations on Friday, the Archdiocese of Chicago has announced several changes to protocols to ensure safety during church services across the state.
Starting Friday, all of Illinois will be under Tier 3 coronavirus mitigations imposed by the state and based on Illinois gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent advisory, the Archdiocesan Task Force issued an update on protocols to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are confident that our protocols continue to work in safeguarding the health of clergy, staff and parishioners, while mitigating any spread of infection in our churches,” Bishop Robert Casey, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago, said in a statement.
Here’s a look at the updated guidance from the Archdiocese of Chicago:
Masses and Sacraments
- Masses and sacramental celebrations remain with the attendance limits a parish received at certification during the reopening efforts – this includes wedding and funeral Masses within the church.
- However, for wakes and funeral vigils, please note that clergy and bereavement ministers do not need to attend/minister if there are concerns that attendance might exceed the statewide limit of 10 persons.
- Regarding final committals:
- Any graveside final committal must observe the limitations on attendance of 10 persons, physically distanced and wearing facial coverings at the gravesite. Others may participate from their vehicles.
- Any final committal conducted within a cemetery chapel must observe the limit of no more than 25% of the room’s capacity. All attendees must maintain six feet of physical distance and use facial coverings.
Operations and administration
- Parish staff that can complete their work at home should continue to do so until further notice. Pastors and parish team leaders are encouraged to think critically before requiring anyone to come into the office for any reason.
- As previously communicated, all non-church gatherings must observe the current statewide limit of 10 people. And given the current advisory to stay at home, there may be no in-person meetings on parish grounds unless absolutely essential. The current norm is for all meetings to be conducted virtually.
Under current guidelines, the state recommends gatherings of no more than 10 people. Where the 10-person limit cannot be followed in places of worship, a capacity limit that allows for extensive social distancing of at least six feet between congregants is recommended.