PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — New guidelines about attending Mass have been released by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

In a release Tuesday, churches will reopen June 1 for daily Mass, private prayer, confessions, weddings, funerals and baptisms with no more than 25 people in attendance.

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For weekend Mass, which resumes June 6, churches will follow social distancing guidelines of 6 feet, which equates to about 25 percent capacity.

“Each pastor will assess his specific situation and determine a method for keeping track of the number of people attending and controlling attendance so it does not exceed allowable limits,” Bishop David Zubik said in a release.

On June 8, the diocese says daily Mass attendance can also increase to 25 percent of the seating capacity.

“As time goes on, the percentage of people may increase as it goes smoothly. And as we are anticipating the governor placing all six counties in our diocese in green,” Zubik told KDKA.

Bishop Kurt Kusserow with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America said his congregations are treading lightly.

“Some of our smaller congregations, where the whole congregation is less than 25, have decided they’re going to open,” said Kusserow.

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However, the congregants will be wearing face masks and staying 6 feet apart.

As for larger congregations? Bishop Kusserow said they’re not ready to reopen their doors.

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi with the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church says some smaller churches have already begun in-person worship with safety measures in place.

“Make sure cleaning surfaces all people touch, ask them to consider putting in no-touch trash cans, make sure putting doors where people don’t have to touch knobs and handles,” said Moore-Koikoi.

Some faiths have decided not to open their worship centers at all. They’re working on a plan but don’t know when it will happen.

“We have to have enough masks, PPE, how to screen staff and congregants, as well as taking temperatures at the entrance,” said the Director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh Mohcine Eljoufri.

The Catholic Diocese of Greensburg will have similar guidelines next month.

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The release from the Diocese of Pittsburgh also included these reminders:

  • “The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect.”
  • “Live streaming Masses will continue.”
  • “This is a fluid situation, and Bishop Zubik, in consultations with a diocesan COVID-19 Task Force, will continue to monitor and evaluate the reopening process and make adjustments as warranted.”
  • “In all phases of reopening, the Diocese of Pittsburgh will remain in alignment with local, state, and federal public health and safety guidelines. Parishioners will be required to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and maintain social distancing of six feet (side-to-side, as well as front and back).”
  • “Although beginning June 1 churches are permitted to open for daily Mass, it should not be expected that all churches in the Diocese of Pittsburgh will do so. The decision to reopen a church rests with pastors, who need to base their decisions on a number of factors including their ability to comply with CDC cleaning and sanitizing protocols. The diocese is offering support to pastors and parish teams as they assess their spaces and their ability to meet all safety requirements.”