Parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles have been told to “discontinue indoor Masses and other liturgical services” after new statewide restrictions on indoor activities aimed at slowing the summer spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were announced Monday by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
An email with new guidelines sent to parishes around the archdiocese July 13, however, noted that the reclosure allows for services outdoors.
“Outdoor Masses and other liturgical services such as adoration and prayer services are allowed and encouraged. Parishes may continue to celebrate Confessions, First Communions, Confirmations, Funerals, and Weddings outdoors on the parish grounds,” read the memo.
Guidelines issued to the parishes stated that “face coverings and social distancing are required for any services held outdoors.”
The email sent Monday night to parish pastors in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties — all of which are among the 30 California counties included in Newsom’s order — called the restrictions “discouraging and disappointing” but also mentioned the importance of public safety.
“This is also a good time to remind all of our parishioners that the risk of coronavirus is real, and it is dangerous,” read the message. “While these Orders are discouraging and disappointing, this is the time to pray for one another, trust in Jesus, and focus on the care and love he has for each one of us.”
Parishes in the archdiocese had just begun to reopen to the public following a phased reopening plan last month after being closed for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those guidelines required that parishes take several safety and sanitary precautions, including capacity limits of 100 people per service.
In addition to houses of worship, the July 13 restrictions also ordered closure of bars, gyms, hair salons, malls, zoos and museums, as well as indoor dining. State officials have not said when the restrictions may be lifted again.