The Archdiocese of Port of Spain Health, Safety and Environment Team proposal for the reopening of churches issued September 5 for the week beginning September 6, 2021. The full document can be viewed at www.catholictt.org
Covid-19 transmission prevention: All attendees for Holy Mass are required to observe Covid-19 guidelines including: stay at home if ill or if anyone in the immediate household is unwell with flu-like symptoms; Persons aged eight years and older wear face masks, practise hand hygiene. Anyone with temperatures above 37.5°C or higher will not be allowed entry.
The law: Emergency Powers (No.2) Regulations 2021, the legal requirements of the Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)] (No.18). Church leaders must identify the pre-Covid-19 or ordinary (seating) capacity where Holy Mass is hosted and calculate 25 per cent of this figure to generate the total number of persons currently allowed, subject to the 6-foot physical distancing. If ordinary capacity was 300, 75 will be the maximum number allowed. Included within the number are the ordinary worshippers, choir members, hospitality team and ministers serving on the altar.
The policy of the Archdiocese: Following expert advice, the Catholic Church mandates ordained ministers, commissioned ministers, and laity (including hospitality team members, choirs, and lectors) must be fully vaccinated as their varied roles necessitate movement throughout the building with multiple points of contact. Vaccination of these key members adds a layer of physical protection which benefits all parties.
Pre-registration: It is advised that registration for Mass attendance (see catholictt.org) be made available in the days before the scheduled Mass. Alternatively, worshippers can call ahead to the parish secretary to book their place.
Attendance record: Pre-registration for Holy Mass allows the host to prepare an initial list of named attendees. At each Mass, there must be a physical record of ALL actual attendees with documentation of name and contact details e.g., postal address, e-mail address, telephone number.
Distribution of Holy Communion: The Body of Christ will be distributed and must only be placed into the hand of the communicant. Reception of Holy Eucharist onto the tongue is strictly prohibited. Once standing opposite the minister, the communicant extends both arms forward at the level of his/her chest, elbows straight, left palm open over the right palm, facing upwards.
Catholic News sales: Purchase of the Catholic News should be made by inserting the exact payment through a slot in an appropriately marked box. The buyer should then pick-up the newspaper himself.