PORTLAND, Maine — Since March 18 all public masses have been suspended due to the coronavirus, COVID-19 concerns. In a press release, the Diocese of Portland announced effective Monday, June 1, Maine churches are allowed to hold public Masses.

“We are, of course, anxious to return to our churches and have the opportunity to celebrate Mass,” said Bishop Robert Deeley. “We have been preparing for the last few weeks for a safe restoration of Mass in accord with the guidelines of the CDC. There are a lot of things involved, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep people safe and fulfill the mission of the Church.”

According to the Diocese, live-streamed Masses will still be offered as most would-be churchgoers will not be able to attend in person due to capacity restrictions.

You can find the list of live-streamed services offered around Maine here.

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Action plans and procedures are being developed at each parish in Maine, but the Diocese says there are guidelines that each church must follow.

“Some of the restrictions may seem to be too cautious for the faithful who wish to return to public Masses at this time,” said Bishop Deeley. “However, ensuring the safety and health of our clergy, employees, students, volunteers, parishioners, and the greater community remains our top priority.”

As of June 1, no more than 50 people can attend Mass. That includes essential church personnel.

A fair and equitable registration process for parishioners who want to attend Mass must be established at each church to ensure the restricted attendance capacity is not exceeded.

Anyone from outside of Maine who has not quarantined for 14 days in Maine prior to Mass may not attend services.

Masks will be worn by those attending Mass to protect against the projection of respiratory particles.

Pew seating arrangements will be established to keep each person at least six feet from the next person, among other restrictions.

Those with serious underlying medical conditions or who may be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are asked not to attend.

For more information about the parishes’ reopening plans, visit the Portland Diocese’s website.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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