1st March 2021.
My dear Brothers in Christ,
On the 8th January, 2021 I was forced to suspend weekend Masses for a second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, February 27th 2021 the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) – the Health Services Subcommittee issued a release on the new protocol for indoor gatherings for houses of worship which is as follows:-
Phase #3: Effect February 27, 2021 to March 27, 2021 – Mass gatherings
- Indoor gatherings in houses of worship – a maximum number of persons which is 1/3 the regular capacity of the place of congregation should be allowed. (For example a place of congregation which normally accommodates 90 persons with adequate spacing may only have 30 persons.)
- Temperature checks of all congregants should be done as they enter the venue. This function must be provided by the church. Any congregant found to have a temperature greater than 100.1’F MUST be referred immediately to the COVID-19 Hotline (534- 4325).
- Sufficient hand washing or hand sanitizing stations (at a recommended ratio of no less than 1:20 persons) should be available for the duration of the gathering.
- The venue should have sufficient space to allow for at least 3-6 ft physical distancing between congregants or personal bubbles, and the free movement of congregants.
- Facial coverings must be worn by all congregants and provided where necessary.
- To facilitate contact tracing:
- The church leader must record the name (ID verified) and contact number of each person entering the place of worship. This information should be securely stored for twenty-eight (28) days. The MOHWE will only access this information in the event that contact tracing involving the persons who attended the event is required.
- Adequate toilet facilitates with hygiene practices sufficiently maintained should be available at all events.
- All food safety protocols must be strictly adhered to.
- Compliance with the Public Health Act of 2020 and the Environmental Health Services Act of 1991 is required.
I now direct that all Weekend Masses resume with immediate effect in accordance with the above-mentioned protocol.
Let us pray together for an end to this pandemic.
Please continue to keep safe.
Yours in Christ,
+ Gerard County,
Bishop of Kingstown.