Minnesota governor announces slightly wider opening of church doors effective June 10

| June 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said June 5 that effective June 10 his “Stay Safe Minnesota” plan will allow 50 percent capacity at church gatherings, up from 25 percent that has been in effect since May 27. But the maximum number of people expected at liturgies and other events remains at 250.

“Today, we’re prepared to take another step in turning that dial,” Walz said at a news conference.

But officials at the news conference made clear that people are still encouraged to stay home if they are age 65 or older or have underlying health conditions.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis suspended public Masses March 18 to help curb spread of the novel coronavirus. As Walz loosened some restrictions, the archbishop and other Catholic bishops of Minnesota said they were prepared to allow parishes — with appropriate safety measures such as hand washing and social distancing — to allow churches to hold liturgies at 30 percent capacity, despite the governor’s order that limited such gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

The bishops also said that lifting of the Sunday obligation to attend Mass would continue, and they urged people age 65 or older or with underlying health conditions to remain home, because they are considered more susceptible to complications if they contract the virus. To help the faithful make a spiritual Communion, parishes across the archdiocese since March 18 have been celebrating their Masses via livestream.

The bishops argued that if parishes were properly prepared, 30 percent capacity was reasonable, particularly as some businesses saw a greater loosening of restrictions than houses of worship. After discussions with the governor and members of his administration, it was agreed that 25 percent capacity, with a maximum of 250 people, was reasonable.

The governor said his latest announcement, which also includes a loosening of restrictions for a variety of businesses and gatherings, is another step toward normalizing life in Minnesota, while maintaining an important effort to protect lives and prevent COVID-19 patients from overwhelming the health system.

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Category: Local News