From Monday, May 10th, our churches will again be open for public worship. This is very much welcomed and we look forward to being together in faith. The following clarifications have been issued from the Department of An Taoiseach around numbers etc.
Pods of 50
Where the size of the premises/place of worship allows for a capacity of greater than 50 this may be permitted only where:
– social distancing guidelines are adhered to
– the premises can be subdivided into distinct sections (cordoned or marked appropriately) of not more than 50 persons in each section
– there is a minimum of four metres between sections
– each section having its own entrance/exit route
– there are separate arrangements for elements of the service involving close contact, for example the distribution of Holy Communion
– strictly no movement of people between sections before, during or after the service
– the premises is well-ventilated
There is an increased risk of transmission of the virus where families and communities come together following the death of a loved one. Therefore, numbers at funeral services (and weddings) is capped at 50 regardless of size of premises.
Notwithstanding the increase in numbers permitted, funerals are still considered private family events and all notices in newspapers or online should be clear about this.
Funeral services should continue to be live-streamed to help reduce numbers attending.
Attendance at wakes in private homes and at funeral homes remains unchanged ie immediate family only and people should be discouraged from queuing to pay respects.
Outdoor worship is not permitted in line with Government restrictions on organised outdoor gatherings.
Use of religious premises for any other purposes/parochial activities/community meetings etc. is not permitted in line with Government restrictions on organised indoor gatherings.