Covid-19 Level 1: Each diocese and parish to decide measures

Covid-19 Level 1

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops met last Friday to discuss how COVID-19 Level 1 was working in their respective dioceses.

They noted there were differences between some dioceses and even between some churches – for example, some churches allowed Communion from the Chalice, others did not.

So they decided there was no need to issue any formal advice or pastoral comment on how churches should operate under Covid-19 Alert Level 1.

They thought that such matters were rightly for local people to decide.

“You can do what you are comfortable with at a local level,” was the consensus comment.

With the move to Alert Level 1, which began at midnight last Monday all the limits on freedoms introduced to combat Covid-19 were lifted – except the restrictions on overseas travel.

All the Government asks is that businesses and services visited by the public provide a way for those visitors to record their movements.

The Government will continue working with sector groups, businesses, hospitality firms, churches, schools and others to encourage them to display QR codes via posters at the entrance of their premises.

“You can do and go wherever you like, we just ask you keep a record of where you have been by scanning in – or noting down your movements for yourself,”  said the prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

She also said, ” We’re still being encouraged to social distance of course, so we hope people will be sensible.”

So now there are no restrictions on “public gatherings” including church services, weddings, baptisms and funerals.

This means the number of people attending Mass is not limited, for example, and there are no official requirements for such measures as social distancing.

Many parishes and people have been reflecting on the impact of the Covid-19 Lockdown on themselves and the wider community, the Bishops also noted.

“Churches and parishes are reopening and thinking of the future. We encourage that and want to foster it throughout the Church,” they said.


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