SAN ANTONIO – A day after the announcement that churches in the Archdiocese of San Antonio can reopen next week, local parishes have received guidelines that must be followed.
“There are so many protocols now. I think this is a new chapter for all of us,” said the Rev. Praveen Lakkisetti, a priest at Christ the King Catholic Church.
Lakkisetti on Tuesday received new guidelines about how to safely reopen Mass to the public.
“The guidelines as such begin with health, social distancing and keeping every precaution in its place to make sure that everybody is safe,” Lakkisetti said.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the church on the West Side has been closed.
Mass has been live-streamed and the pews are filled with pictures of church members.
Lakkisetti said he and his staff have been preparing for their reopening.
“The church building inside as such can hold pre-COVID, that could easily hold 300 people. Now, keeping the guidelines of the health officials and the Archdiocese of San Antonio, we can only accommodate 25% of it, means almost 65 people,” Lakkisetti said.
He said church staff will be constantly cleaning the building and disinfecting the pews after every Mass.
Printed material will no longer be used. Instead hymns and songs will be displayed on projector screens.
“Facemask is mandatory for everyone who is entering, and we are putting the guidelines are the kind of best practices, strict measures. If we have any symptoms of COVID, please stay home,” Lakkisetti said.
Lakkisetti said a COVID-19 task force of about 20 people from the church will make sure people are staying safe and have all the supplies they need.
Even though the church will reopen, Mass will continue to be livestreamed.
“I’m going to continue this, because not right away all people can come back, especially with some elderly people. They have some health issues. They cannot come back and get exposed,” Lakkisetti said.
Daily Masses resume May 19 and weekend Masses on May 23 and 24.
Here are the new guidelines:
For more COVID-19 coverage from KSAT, click here.