Bishop Thomas Zinkula announces the following changes in COVID-19 safety protocols, effective today, April 28:
- Fully vaccinated clergy and staff can travel outside the diocese and within the U.S. without the need to get tested or self-quarantine before or after travel unless their destination requires it. If symptoms of COVID occur, CDC guidelines1 are to be followed. They may visit inside a home or private setting without a mask with other fully vaccinated people of any age and with one household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk for severe illness. This does not apply to public places or large gatherings or to business travel by clergy and staff. When visiting a patient with COVID or suspected to be infected with COVID, all PPE protocols must be followed.
- Spaces used for faith formation sessions with youth, where there is a cohort of students (such as vacation bible school) that doesn’t overlap with other cohorts, should follow CDC guidelines2 in a similar manner as school classrooms.
- Liturgies in nursing homes and retirement facilities may resume if the presider is fully vaccinated and the safety protocols of the facility and diocese are followed.
- CDC recommends those who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks when walking, exercising, dining or attending a small gathering outside with other vaccinated people. When the liturgy is celebrated outdoors, masks are to be worn. Additional information is available on the CDC website3.
We are hopeful that in the near future we will be able to reduce the restrictions for in-person sessions, meetings, gatherings and faith formation activities. Based on the current forecast for reopening, faith formation programs should plan for in-person sessions this fall. However, since the nature of the pandemic may shift, parishes should be ready to conduct sessions virtually if necessary.
The dispensation from participating in Mass continues to be in effect until a date to be determined.
All other protocols remain in place.