Cultural Affairs Minister Raab: Adjustment of Corona agreement for public worship services

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In the run-up to the opening steps by the federal government on May 19, Minister of Cultural Affairs Susanne Raab also agreed on Friday with all churches and religious communities on an adjustment of the existing agreement for the holding of public religious services.

The previously existing protective measures (mandatory wearing of FFP2 masks, minimum distance of two meters between worshippers and sufficient disinfectant) are still valid. In the future, liturgical singing, which is important in the context of the performance of religious services, will be possible again, subject to compliance with appropriate safety measures and in a reduced form, as before the lockdown.

This adjusted agreement is valid as of May 19, and the corresponding implementation of this agreement will be carried out individually by the respective religious communities.

Relaxations for baptisms and weddings

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference will adjust its framework regulations for the celebration of public religious services in the coming days. This was explained to Kathpress on Friday by St. Pölten Auxiliary Bishop Anton Leichtfried, as the bishop responsible for liturgy.

Accordingly, starting May 19, congregational singing will again be possible, but it is to be “reduced in terms of its duration and scope.” Choral singing in church services will only be possible if there is proof of a low epidemiological risk. Accordingly, it must be proven whether someone has been vaccinated, tested or recovered. When singing, a distance of at least two meters must be maintained, and the FFP2 mask requirement does not apply. Church choir rehearsals will be subject to the same provisions of the COVID-19 opening ordinance as clubs, Leichtfried said, referring to the Choir Association’s website (https://chorverband.at).

There will also be facilitations for baptisms and weddings: If these could take place so far only in the smallest circle, then they are possible starting from Wednesday same as first communions and confirmations under adherence to the general Corona rules for church services and with an appropriate prevention concept again.

In the case of funerals, the previous corona rules for services will continue to apply for the wake, requiem or celebration of the word in the church. However, because of the new relaxation in the law, there is no longer a limit on the number of people in the cemetery, Leichtfried clarified.

The new Corona rules will also apply to the Feast of Corpus Christi (June 3), the liturgical bishop continued. “If the weather is favorable, it is possible to celebrate the Eucharist outdoors. Processions are only possible if it is ensured that a distance of at least two meters is maintained at all times from other persons not living in the same household,” Leichtfried said. He pointed out that the FFP2 mask requirement continues to apply during outdoor services.

  • source: kathpress.at/picture: pixabay.com
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