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Churches reopen with COVID-19 guidelines


The Government of Guyana issued updated COVID-19 guidelines which state that from Saturday, August 1, places of worship were permitted to be open for public worship.

The updated order issued Thursday, July 30 stated that “all places of religious worship may be open for religious services and gatherings including the conduct of funerals and weddings.”

According to Catholic Standard, the order said that religious leaders are to ensure that there is a six-foot distance between attendees who are not from the same household, proper sanitisation is done after each service, and members wear masks covering their noses and mouths. Gatherings are restricted to 25 per cent the capacity of the building, and the 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew remains in place until August 15.

Speaking at the livestreamed 6 a.m. Mass Friday, July 31, Bishop-elect John Persaud said that for the Central Georgetown Cluster, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Fatima RC Church, North Road will reopen that weekend while the Sacred Heart RC Church will do so the following weekend (August 8, 9).

Bishop-elect Persaud asked that parishioners in the rest of the diocese contact their parishes to ascertain when their churches will be reopened.

Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB gave an updated version of the Diocese’s guidelines on the reopening of churches. He mentioned at present the whole of Guyana is subject to several restrictions that have been put in place to arrest the spread of COVID-19.

“The general advice is that the threat of the virus is likely to continue for some time but as permission is now given to open our places of worship, conditions set by the Diocese and/or laid down by the State must be observed. Requirements of the State will supersede those prescribed by the Diocese,” he said.

Among the guidelines included no communion from the chalice, communion is to be received only on the hand, the sign of peace and passing of baskets for collection to be omitted and the most vulnerable will be asked to stay at home and participate in virtual services “until we are at a more secure stage of the process”.

Communities were strongly encouraged to take these recommendations seriously to prevent illness and loss of life due to the coronavirus.

“There is both collective as well as individual responsibility associated with proper observance. As we assemble in number, we must each act judiciously and responsibly, conscientiously protecting others and ourselves,” Bishop Alleyne said.