HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford is planning to reopen its parishes to the public for weekday Masses only beginning June 8, with rules for wearing masks and social distancing to guard against the coronavirus, church officials announced Wednesday.
The archdiocese released its guidelines for reopening its more than 120 parishes in Hartford, New Haven and Litchfield counties. Church officials said a date for resuming Sunday services has not been determined. Churches will continue to live stream and post videos of Sunday services.
Parishioners will be required to wear masks, with exceptions for young children and those with a legitimate health reason. People also must stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart, and services will be limited to 50 people according to Gov. Ned Lamont’s orders. There also will be no passing of offering baskets.
Older adults, those with medical conditions and those caring for sick or housebound people are urged not to attend the weekday services.
“Coordinated and thoughtful planning is imperative for a church to reopen; otherwise it should not do so,” the new guidelines say. “A pastor must be able to ensure that the parish is prepared to meet the pandemic requirements for public worship.”
As of Tuesday, there have been 3,769 COVID-19-associated deaths in Connecticut, and more than 41,300 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, or death.