Archdiocese of San Antonio eases social distancing protocol ahead of Easter masses

Groups only need to be 3 feet apart; masks still required

Parishioners wear face masks as they attend an in-person Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in San Antonio, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The Archdiocese of San Antonio has lightened its social distancing protocol ahead of Easter weekend.

The archdiocese said that starting Wednesday, churches can open all pews and reduce social distancing requirements from six feet to three feet.

Mask use for congregants and staff and thorough cleaning will still be required at churches.

“We must still remain vigilant, however, it seems prudent to begin to relax some of the restrictions which reduce the number of parishioners who can participate in the Mass and receive the Eucharist,” the archdiocese said.

The announcement was made this week as parishes prepare for Easter masses and celebrations.

The Passion of the Christ procession will take place this year but it will be pre-taped.

Catholic Television of San Antonio will show the Passion Play at noon and 6:30 on Friday and 5 p.m. on Saturday. It will be broadcast on CTSA and on social media.

Last year, the Archdiocese of San Antonio suspended public masses through May and the longstanding Passion Play was canceled due to the first onset of COVID-19.

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller instead encouraged priests to livestream their masses or use other media to reach out to their parishioners. Weekend masses continued in late May.

“The archdiocese will continue to evaluate the health situation as more information becomes available and make appropriate changes to our guidelines as circumstances dictate,” the archdiocese said.

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