Return to Public Mass

Further Updates are to follow from the diocese next week

The Government has announced a special concession for Places of Worship to reopen for
religious services at Level 3 from December 1st, in light of the upcoming Christmas period. This
will be reviewed in January. Churches may reopen for Mass from December 1st, 2020. The
Government guidance can be read on the Government’s website,
People may attend Mass with the following protective measures:
• The rules of social distancing must be complied with and people must remain 2 metres
apart from one another.
• Members of the same household can sit/stand together but are to be treated
individually in calculating the permitted capacity, in other words in calculating capacity
do not treat a couple as one person.
• Where possible, separate points of entrance and exits should be provided and these are
to be clearly marked.
• Face coverings/face masks must be used. The use of visors is to be discouraged.
• Ensure that all hand sanitisers are checked regularly and are topped up and, that they
are cleaned daily.
• Review your public health signage and make sure such signage is in place at all
• Have a one way system in place for the distribution of Holy Communion
• Have a team of ushers or stewards in place for each Mass.
• There is to be no congregation of people outside the church or on church grounds
before or after any service.
Note Carry out an assessment to determine how many people can attend within the
requirements of social distancing. Do not exceed the capacity. The Government guidance
allows for up to 50 worshippers subject to the above protective measures.
Churches with a capacity greater than 50 people
Where the size of the church allows for a capacity greater than 50, this may be permitted only
where the following additional measures are adhered to,
• Social distancing guidelines are strictly observed.
• The church must be divided into distinct sections and these sections must be clearly
marked and no more than 50 people are permitted in each section.
• There must be a minimum of 4 metres between sections.
• Each section must have its own entrance and exit.
• There should not be any movement of people between sections before, during or after
the service.
• Each section shall have its own communion station for the distribution of Holy
Communion so as to limit the movement of people between sections.
• At the end of Mass each section should have its own separate exit but where this is not
possible exit from the church should be staggered, section by section.
• Ensure that the church is well ventilated.
Note Priests and Ministers of the Eucharist must wear face coverings/face masks during the
distribution of Holy Communion. The use of visors is to be discouraged.
Duration of Service
Services should not exceed one hour(this includes entrance and exit times) with at least one
hour between services to allow for cleaning and ventilation and to avoid crowding/overlap.
Choirs (as part of the service), chanting and congregational singing  –
Specific guidance on this will be provided.
Funerals and Weddings
Numbers permitted at funerals and weddings remain at 25 for ceremony and reception.
• The numbers that may attend a Baptism shall be no more than 25 people per family.
• Where the capacity of the church allows for a capacity greater than 50 people then
more than one Baptism can be held at the same time only where the following
guidelines are adhered to,
• Each family for Baptism sits in a different and clearly marked out section.
• Only members of the same household may sit together and should be socially distant
from others attending the Baptism.
• There must not be any mixing of people from different sections.
Diocesan Covid Support Team
December 1st, 2020