The news about the coronavirus (COVID-19) reminds church leaders they should remain vigilant as we are still in the midst of a pandemic. While the numbers of new infections and deaths in the State of Florida have declined since their peak in June and July, we are still not out of the woods. Therefore, in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, the revised protocols of June 15th remain in effect. Read revised protocols at tinyurl.com/y3us4mrm
The Executive Order issued by Gov. DeSantis on September 26, 2020 has become a source of confusion among some members of the faithful. While there are no longer limitations on capacity as before, Bishop Parkes requests that all parishes and other entities of the Diocese continue to maintain social distancing to the extent that it is possible. This may vary from county to county according to local mandates and also may vary according to decisions by the pastor.
The following measures are still considered effective in reducing exposure and transmission of the coronavirus at Mass:
1. Stay at home if you are elderly and/or have a compromised immune system, are caring for someone with these issues, or are feeling sick yourself.
2. Wear a mask.
3. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds using soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
4. Maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more.
5. It is best to avoid the use of hymnals or missalettes at this time. One-time use worship sheets with music, readings and appropriate copyrights are okay so long as they are collected and disposed of afterwards.
6. People may exchange the Sign of Peace without physical contact.
7. Holy water fonts should remain empty. (The concern is not about contaminated water; it is about the contamination of the font’s surfaces from people touching it.)
8. Refrain from using baskets that are passed from person-to-person for the collection.
9. The music ministry and singing in general, while encouraged, should be arranged prudently, to reduce the transmission of smaller aerosol particulates that may carry the virus.
Go to tinyurl.com/yyupdcda for a more detailed resource produced by the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.