LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Archdiocese of Los Angeles Monday night announced that it has again halted indoor masses after California’s governor ordered all houses of worship to close indoor operations because of the surge of coronavirus cases.
The L.A. Archdiocese – which includes close to 300 parishes across L.A., Ventura and Santa Barbara counties – reported that it was discontinuing all indoor masses and other services immediately.
Outdoor masses and liturgical services, confessions, first communions, confirmations, funerals and weddings may continue to be held outdoors on parish grounds, however.
All worshippers must wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
“This is also a good time to remind all of our parishioners that the risk of coronavirus is real, and it is dangerous,” the archdiocese said. “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.”
The guidelines included limiting capacity to 25% or up to a maximum of 100 people and maintaining distance between priests and the penitent during confession. Catholic churches were also advised to remove missalette and hymnal books, empty holy water fonts and cordon off “frequently touched objects” like statues.
Under the order, parish offices must close to the public, but a minimum number of staff are allowed to continue working in the office.
On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered indoor operations statewide for all restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums, cardrooms and other indoor entertainment venues to shut down.
For 30 counties that were on a state watch list due to their alarming coronavirus case numbers, the shutdowns were more severe. Those counties, which account for about 80% of California’s population and includes the entire Southland, were ordered to close hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, shopping malls and houses of worship.
It’s unclear how long the order will last.