ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Archbishop announced Monday a schedule and guidelines for resuming in-parish worship services.
Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer said the plan would slowly allow parishioners inside churches for services and sacraments while adhering to social distancing guidelines, news outlets reported.
"We're not throwing the doors open," said communications director Maureen Smith, adding that the safety of parishioners comes first.
In-parish daily Masses were set to start May 25 and weekend Masses would begin on May 30 and 31. The decision to reopen could be based on the individual pastors' discretion and parishes could use a reservation system or first-come, first-served process for services.
"We decided to begin our process on Pentecost –- the birthday of the church," Hartmayer said. "As a theme for this reopening we pray, come Holy Spirit, fill and renew us."
Church members are still allowed to miss in-person Sunday Mass through June 28, which allows churches to spread out attendance over several days.
Some new guidelines include taking parishioners temperatures before they enter the church, deep cleaning pews and removal of all hymnals and bibles. The communion wafer or bread could be distributed but parishioners can't drink from the chalice.