For Immediate Release: May 27, 2021
Catholic Diocese of Richmond Establishes Reintegration Plan for Parishes as Diocese Eases Social Distancing and Face Covering Mandate for Masses, Liturgical Celebrations and Social Gatherings
New Protocol Effective May 28, 2021
(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Catholic Diocese of Richmond will lift most COVID-19 protocols on May 28, 2021, as public health restrictions in the commonwealth end per Governor Northam’s Executive Order 79.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and its parishes sought to balance equitable precautions to protect the health of all, while continuing to provide access to Mass and the sacraments, and minister to the spiritual needs of the faithful.
“Although the pandemic is not over and we recognize that some concerns remain, it is now time to weave a course that is reasonable but also allows better access to the sacraments and liturgies,” said Most Rev. Barry C. Knestout, bishop of the Diocese of Richmond.
Effective May 28, at the direction of Bishop Knestout and based upon the recent release of Executive Order 79 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the diocese announces that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a face covering indoors or outdoors. Unvaccinated individuals, including those age 5 and up, should continue to cover their nose and mouth. Those not wearing face coverings will not be asked to provide documentation that they are vaccinated or have an underlying medical condition.
For now, Bishop Knestout continues to grant a dispensation from the obligation of attending Mass on Sundays and holy days, as some conditions and issues may prevent the faithful from doing so. The diocese will offer more information surrounding the subject in the future.
The distribution of the cup is still suppressed for deacons and the laity until further notice.
While specific guidance has been given on certain expectations, pastors are given discretion.
“These updated guidelines are to assist you,” said Bishop Knestout. “They also allow a certain amount of discretion for implementation at the local level.”
Updates about COVID-19 in the Diocese of Richmond will be available on the diocesan website.
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You can read more about the reintegration plan on The Catholic Virginian website.