Reopening New Jersey: Archdiocese of Newark announces Phase 2 guidelines; allow weekday masses

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- The Archdiocese of Newark has announced Phase 2 reopening directives for churches which will allow public weekday masses with restrictions.

Beginning on Monday, June 15, Archdiocesan parishes, which already have been reopened for private prayer, will now be reopened for the celebration of public weekday masses, as well as funerals, baptisms and weddings.

The Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, made the announcement this week that Phase 2 of reopening churches has been approved as part of the ongoing, three-phase reopening process for parishes throughout the Archdiocese.

"As we slowly resume public Mass, it is important that we work together to allow for a safe and dignified parish environment for all," Cardinal Tobin said. "Out of love and respect for human life and health, let us act responsibly and adhere to the guidelines provided by the Archdiocese and our local parishes."

The maximum number of people allowed for public masses, funerals, baptisms and weddings is now set at 25 percent of the church's capacity or 50 people total, whichever is less.

In addition, Phase 1 reopening restrictions will still apply including: social distancing, wearing face masks and sanitizing.

Due to social distancing guidelines, it's recommended that services take place in church and not small chapels.

"If you are ill or at higher risk for illness, or if attending public Mass in the current climate brings you anxiety, please be at peace and remain at home," Cardinal Tobin said.

If current health conditions are maintained, Phase 3 of reopening for churches is expected to begin on Sunday, June 21.


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