COVID-19 restrictions were lifted throughout New York State June 15. Bishop Douglas J. Lucia announced June 17 that most restrictions placed on houses of worship in the Diocese of Syracuse also were lifted. Updated diocesan pandemic protocols include the following:

• Masks for those who are fully vaccinated continue to be optional. Parishioners are not to be asked their vaccination status or for proof of vaccination. New York State and CDC regulations continue to maintain the wearing of masks, social distancing practices, etc. for some individuals in certain circumstances (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html).

• There are no social distancing requirements. Space in the church for those who wish to remain distanced is recommended.

• There are no capacity restrictions and no gathering limits, except at indoor venues that hold more than 5,000.

• Holy Communion will continue to be distributed under the form of bread only. There are to be no common or shared Communion chalices. At concelebrated Masses, the manner of reception by the priest continues to be by intinction.

• All Communion vessels should be properly cleaned after Mass with hot, soapy water (after being purified according to the rubrics).

• The Sign of Peace is optional and there still should be no physical contact.

• Holy water fonts may be filled; water should be changed and fonts cleaned weekly.

• Although frequent sanitation of facilities is no longer required, the practice of sanitizing once per day should be maintained.

• Hand sanitizer should continue to be available at all church entrances and in the Sanctuary where it can be easily used by celebrants, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and others serving or attending Mass.

• Festivals and other parish events may resume.

• The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day Masses was lifted on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 6. Anyone who is frail or at risk due to advanced age or medical conditions is always excused from this obligation. Caregivers, too, may have to use prudential judgment about attendance at Mass, carefully considering the risk factors involved. Maintaining livestreamed/recorded Masses for those who are not able to be at Mass in person, therefore, is encouraged.


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