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Palm Sunday Health & Safety reminders

Excerpt from Bulletin #12, ‘Guidelines for the Season of Lent and Holy Week’, issued February 17, 2021 from the Archdiocesan Health, Safety, and the Environment Team. CLICK HERE for full document.

Distribution of palms

Scientific research confirms that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from a contaminated surface is significantly lower than direct person-to-person contact. However, as palms are likely to be handled by multiple, unwashed hands between harvest and their final destination, it is the recommendation of the HSE Committee that palms be sanitised before distribution at Palm Sunday Masses.

Sanitising palms

An alcohol-based solution is suitable and can be dispensed using the fine mist of a plastic spray bottle, atomiser, or fogging machine. Sanitising the palms can be done to the entire collection of palms simultaneously with the branches

– spread out in a thin layer

– on a flat surface

– in a well-ventilated area

– by an adult wearing protective eyewear

– at least 60 minutes before distribution to facilitate adequate drying by air.

Members of the hospitality team must perform hand hygiene prior to distributing the sanitised branches which are handed over once worshippers have entered the building, having completed hand hygiene themselves.

An adequate supply of hand sanitiser should be available at the entrances at which the palms are being distributed, in the event that there is accidental skin-to-skin contact between the usher distributing the palms and a recipient.

NB: There is to be no procession from the outside of the church to the inside at the start of Palm Sunday Mass.