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Churches stop public masses anew amid spike in Covid-19 cases

19 July 2020

By The SUN

Restrictions on religious gatherings were relaxed further just last Jul 1
Most churches have again stopped holding public masses in the wake of record increases in the number of coronavirus infections in Hong Kong, most of them locally transmitted.

The move came as the government imposed the most stringent regulations on public gatherings since the start of the outbreak in Hong Kong in January. The new restrictions will last from Jul 15-28.
Among the first to announce the suspension of public masses was the head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong, Cardinal John Tong.

A notice published in the Chancery’s website quotes the Cardinal as saying that: 

Pindutin para sa detalye

1)  All public masses will be suspended in all parish churches and affiliated chapels as well as all other places (for example, the Catholic Centre in Central) where regular Sunday and weekday public services are held. Other religious group activities, except for weddings and funerals will likewise be suspended. For weddings, no more than 20 people will be allowed to gather, during which no food or drink will be served, while there is no restriction on the number of participants for funerals.

2)  Parish churches and chapels will remain open for personal prayers by individuals, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Individual visits to a church or chapel for prayers are not considered as group gatherings, so there is no restriction on their number.

      3) Precautionary measures must, however, be taken during these individual visits: (a) a mask must be worn throughout the visit; (b) body temperature must be taken; (c) hands must be cleansed with sanitizer; (d) individuals must be at least 1.5 meter apart.

Public masses are again suspended for at least 2 weeks starting Jul 15

In place of attending public masses, worshippers are urged to take part in online masses and receive the Holy Communion spiritually, read the Sunday liturgy in the Bible, say the Rosary, or do other religious reflections.

Baptisms or confirmations scheduled over the next two weeks will be suspended, or reset to another date, depending on the public health situation.
Several other churches have likewise announced the suspension of public masses or services.

The move comes just two weeks after restrictions on religious gatherings were relaxed to allow churches to fill up to 80% of their usual capacity. For the entire month of June, they could only fill up to 50% of their capacity.

But three months before this, or starting on Feb. 14, all public religious gatherings were stopped during what is now regarded as the first wave of coronavirus infections in Hong Kong.

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