FAQs Re-Opening

This FAQ attempts to answer various issues in liturgy and pastoral care that were raised at the webinar on Tuesday, May 19. It also seeks to address some of the issues of cleaning churches, HR, legal, office space, and other related issues.

For the full list of FAQs, go HERE.

If your liturgical or pastoral issues have not been answered, you can reach out to the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation and Parish Support, through your evangelization consultant. Their contact information:

South Region: Tom Lyman, tlyman@rcab.org

For ethnic communities:

Baptisms, Confirmations and RCIA

Baptisms
Baptisms can move forward, but probably only one at a time at first, with all of the social distancing and masking norms observed.  Obviously at the time of the pouring of the water and the anointings, the priest has to be close to the family, so he and they should wear masks.  Group Baptisms would make this all the more difficult, so our advice would be that during Phase One, make use of individual Baptisms wherever possible.  Fonts should not be filled with water that is poured over multiple babies – use either pitchers or individual containers of water.  Cotton swabs or cotton balls could be used for the anointings.

When will RCIA Initiation be happening?
There will be further guidance on this soon.

Confirmations
After Pentecost, feel free to contact the office of the Regional Bishop/Episcopal Vicar to plan a date for a Confirmation that was canceled.  If this cannot be arranged, it is possible for the pastor to be delegated either by an Auxiliary Bishop or the Vicar General. In any case, when the Confirmation occurs, all of the guidelines for weekend Mass which are in place at that time must be followed strictly. This will probably include limiting family members and guests.

Funerals

Funerals can start happening on May 25, if and only if a parish is ready.  Parishes should not rush into the resumption of Funeral Masses, but take their time to be sure everything is in place.  A key element of this would need to be working with the local Funeral Directors to come up with local practices upon which both the pastor and the Funeral Director can agree.  All guidelines for a regular Mass would have to be observed at a funeral, including masks and social distancing, even of the principal mourners who are not in a common household.

What about cleaning between the daily Mass and the funeral, and after the funeral?

The church will have to be cleaned after the daily Mass before the funeral, and after the funeral.  If a parish needs to hire extra help to do this, it might be reasonable for the funeral costs to reflect that extra fee.

Is solo singing at Funerals allowed?

Yes.  Solo singing, but not congregational singing.

Can priests go into a funeral home for a wake or funeral home service?

No. Services in the funeral home for wakes and funerals are not allowed for the duration of Phase One.

How can we control attendees at a funeral?

If a parish is to offer a Funeral Mass to a family, the funeral home and the parish will need to have a clear understanding with each other about how to communicate all of the standards to the mourners.  The best way to make this happen is clear and early communication between the pastor and the funeral director.  If a Funeral Home is not willing to play their role in that, they should not have a Funeral Mass in the church.

Can we have a Funeral for someone who died of COVID-19?

Yes.

Could a Funeral Mass for a loved one be held in the yard of the spouse of the loved one, if the spouse has COVID and cannot go to the Church?

The priest would need to speak to the Regional Bishop of the Episcopal Vicar to work out whether something like this could happen on a case by case basis.

First Communions

    1. Wait a few weeks before deciding on First Communions, but communicate to your people that you are working on a solution.  Get some experience with normal Masses so as to make better decisions with regard to First Communions.  We don’t know when Phase Two is coming or what it will look like.  It may be easier and nicer to do this in Phase Two.
    2. Remember that when a child is ready, they can receive Holy Communion at a normal Mass, at the judgment of the parents.  No special ceremony is necessary, although it is obviously nice to have one.
    3. Remember that First Communicants are usually older than age five, so during this Phase One time they would have to wear masks.
    4. Remember that only members of the same household can sit together, so that means grandparents, godparents, etc. would usually have to sit someplace more distant.
    5. Gatherings after Mass for photos, etc. are not permitted.
    6. Group photos, and congregational singing, and having the children all come up for a song, and the passing out of tokens or gifts, is not allowed.
    7. It is likely not practical to have large number of families receiving first communion together with the Phase One setup.  Some parishes might decide to have dedicated First Communion Masses.  In these cases, you would want to very clearly limit the number of guests a family could ask, since the total number of people at the Mass still cannot exceed your ability to seat people socially distant from one another.  Note that that number is likely very much lower than 40% of the capacity of the church. Some parishes might decide to have First Communion take place at normal parish Masses.  Again, be careful of this, because at any given parish Mass, only so many people can be seated in the church.

Weddings

What about weddings?

Weddings are allowed, with all of the norms applied, including masks and social distancing.  The priest or deacon should stand far away from the couple as they exchange their vows, so that they could do that without masks.  The couple could be considered a new household so could sit near one another and even hold hands, but all other people in the wedding party need masks and social distancing.  The wedding could perhaps be livestreamed so that people who cannot attend in person can still participate and observe.  The couple could consider making plans to renew their vows on their first anniversary, with more people present.

Can we have weddings outside?

No, that is not allowed.

Celebratory Masses Like Graduations

Can we hold special celebratory Masses like graduation Masses if all the requirements are met?
Yes, but as you say all of the requirements would have to be met, including masks and social distancing and no congregational singing or choirs.  And no gatherings or group photos would be allowed.  Acknowledging that graduations have a time urgency to them, it would be best to get some good experience in simpler things like regular Sunday Masses before branching into other things.

Resuming Masses

What is the latest date a parish can resume Masses?
There is no set date.  A parish should not resume Masses before they can do so safely.  That being said, if a parish or collaborative is not going to resume Masses before July 1, there should certainly have been a conversation with the Regional Bishop or Episcopal Vicar to discuss that.

What if a priest is simply uncomfortable opening his parish, for personal reasons or because he doesn’t want to expose his flock to the risk?
He should have a conversation with his Regional Bishop or Episcopal Vicar.

How many parishes do you think will open by May 31?
We don’t know.  We know that many will not open on May 23.  Beyond that it is still too early to tell.

For a parish opening on May 30/31, is the permission of the Regional Bishop or Episcopal Vicar still required?
Yes, every parish should check in with their Regional Bishop or Episcopal Vicar before reopening, regardless of the date.

Should parish nurses be consulted in the reopening process?
That would be a great idea.

How do we communicate reopening plans with parishioners that do not have email or internet access?
In that case, paper mail is probably your only real option.  You could also ask those parishioners who do have email to call everyone they can think of who might not have it.  You could also involve local media, local newspapers, and the like.  You could put up a sign out front of the church for those passing by to see.  Remember to communicate not just reopening times and dates, but also all of the restrictions, including (if relevant) the need to sign up.

Can we hold special celebratory Masses like graduation Masses if all the requirements are met?
Yes, but as you say all of the requirements would have to be met, including masks and social distancing and no congregational singing or choirs.  And no gatherings or group photos would be allowed.  Acknowledging that graduations have a time urgency to them, it would be best to get some good experience in simpler things like regular Sunday Masses before branching into other things.

Livestreaming and Other Technology-Related Questions

Will there be continued training for virtual evangelization and the use of technology?
Yes, we are deeply committed to virtual evangelization.  Regular webinars on this topic have already started and will continue.  The page http://bostoncatholic.org/virtual-evangelization will continue to be updated with best practice and practical advice. Furthermore, you should speak with your Evangelization consultant – see the bottom of this sheet – for more information.

Do you have recommendations for providers of professional AV equipment for Mass streaming and other activities?
We encourage you to speak with your Evangelization consultant about this, and they can help you.

For Protecting God’s Children (PGC) training we only have an in-person option. Are you permitted to do this on a resource like ZOOM for meetings?
The Office of Child Advocacy is currently arranging for on-line Virtus training as well as other requirements. Additional information will be provided as the on-line training is approved.

Can we set up a PayPal or Venmo account for the parish?
Contact your Parish Service Consultant.  They will help you to think this through.

Congregation Singing

Can we use a small choir?
No. There can be one cantor and one instrumentalist.

Is the choir ban a suggestion or a requirement?
It is a requirement.

If the church is big enough to keep the choir socially distanced, can we have a choir?
No. Choirs are not allowed at this time.

What should the cantor sing?
The cantor can sing antiphons and hymns and meditations. Mass parts should be spoken so that all the people can participate.

When will choral singing come back?
Soon, we all hope, but likely not until Phase Two or Three or even later. We don’t know what the requirements will be for those phases.

Should we throw away the hymnals? Will this restriction expire before the hymnals expire?
We do not know when the restriction will expire, so it might be best to store the hymnals someplace.

Can we do congregational humming?
Nope.

Should the responsorial psalm be spoken?
That would need to be the pastor’s decision.

If there is no singing, does that mean no spoken dialogues between the priest and the people?
No. Speaking is different from singing. Singing projects far more particles into the air than does speaking.

Can we use recorded music? The use of recorded music is discouraged at Mass.

Do deacons, lectors, cantors, and instrumentalists where masks during the Mass?They do not while they are in the sanctuary, except when they approach the priest to receive Holy Communion.  If a deacon helps with the distribution of Communion, he would have to wear a mask then.

Can we have singing if Mass is outside?
No.  No congregational singing for now.  This won’t last forever, and we can look forward to being able to sing out good and strong again, but not yet.

Bulletins, Hymnals and Worship Aids

What about the distribution of bulletins?
If a parish feels that they can safely distribute bulletins at the end of Mass to people as they exit the church, by a volunteer wearing gloves, they could do so.

Can there be other literature other than bulletins?
Things could be handed out at the end of Mass, on a limited basis, but no literature should be left on tables for people to take.

Should we throw away the hymnals? Will this restriction expire before the hymnals expire?
We do not know when the restriction will expire, so it might be best to store the hymnals someplace.

Are single use worship aids allowed?
No.  The only literature allowed is that which is given out as people are leaving the church (see #77 below).  That being said, you could post worship aids on your web page and invite people to go to them with their phones.  The readings for each day are available on a number of websites and apps.

Celebrating Mass Outdoors

Can we have Mass outside?
Yes, but you will have to be careful.  Local officials should be notified.  You will have to discourage people’s natural instinct to gather and chat.  Pay particular attention to reverence.  Masks will still have to be worn by those distributing and receiving communion, and all social distancing norms observed.  It’s not going to be easy.

Can we have singing if Mass is outside?
No.  No congregational singing for now.  This won’t last forever, and we can look forward to being able to sing out good and strong again, but not yet.

Wearing Masks and Gloves

Does a priest have to wear a mask while celebrating the Mass?
No. The priest only needs to wear a mask while distributing Holy Communion. But he must maintain a six foot distance from all other people while he is not wearing the mask.

Do deacons, lectors, cantors, and instrumentalists where masks during the Mass?
They do not while they are in the sanctuary, except when they approach the priest to receive Holy Communion. If a deacon helps with the distribution of Communion, he would have to wear a mask then.

Should a parish provide a mask if someone shows up without one?
That would be very good, if the parish is able to acquire enough masks to do that.

Can we insist on masks?
The State of Massachusetts has insisted on masks, and we are required to comply with state guidelines in order to reopen.

What if someone won’t wear a mask even if they have no medical or age reason?The parish has the right to ask them to leave, but remember that they don’t have to supply documentation to support their claim.  If it is obvious that they have no reason, and you don’t want to ask them to leave, so be it, but remember that that decision puts your whole community at risk, and risks intervention on the part of the state or municipality if someone complains.

How do we assure consumption of the host while people wear a mask?
The priest, deacon, or EMHC should give the communicant the host, and they should step to the side, lower their mask, consume the host, and return their mask.  It will take time, and we will have to be patient.

Are gloves needed?
No, gloves are not needed, except by a person giving out bulletins or transferring the money from the collection basket into the tamper proof bag.

Receiving Holy Communion

What will be the guidelines for distributing Holy Communion to ensure social distancing?

People come up slowly.  Tape on the floor marks out six foot increments.  Both communicant and priest/deacon/EMHC wear masks. Volunteers help control the flow.

Will only the ordained distribute Holy Communion?
There are likely to be only one or two Communion stations in the church, so the priest and deacon should distribute if they are present and in good health.  Otherwise an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion could certainly distribute Communion, wearing a mask and observing all of the guidelines.  It would be best if the EMHC were not a part of a vulnerable population due to age or complicating health conditions.

How do we assure consumption of the host while people wear a mask?
The priest, deacon, or EMHC should give the communicant the host, and they should step to the side, lower their mask, consume the host, and return their mask. It will take time, and we will have to be patient.

In giving out Holy Communion, can we use the screen like the German church does, so the priest doesn’t have to wear a mask.
In the State of Massachusetts, masks are required, and we need to follow those directives.

Can people bake their own bread and bring it as a substitute for the Communion host?
No.

Doesn’t wearing a mask when receiving Communion, and then taking it off to receive the Host, present risks?
The communicant steps aside away from the priest and anyone else before he or she removes the mask, consumes the Host, and replaces the mask.  This minimizes the risk.

What if someone drops the Host while taking off their mask?
The priest or deacon or EMHC will retrieve the host, set it aside, sanitize their hands, give the communicant a new host, and move on.

Is Communion on the tongue forbidden?
Yes, for at least the duration of Phase One.  This will be reconsidered in Phase Two or Phase Three.

How should we handle someone with Celiac?
Low gluten hosts should still be made available by arrangement.  In an extreme case in which  a person could not tolerate even low gluten, a special chalice would have to be used that only that person would use, and then particular care would have to be paid to the purification of that chalice.

What about individually wrapped hosts?
We shouldn’t need to go that far, if the current guidelines are strictly observed.

Will the priests or deacons or EMHC’s wear gloves while giving out Holy Communion?
No.

How are people going to stay six feet apart while receiving Holy Communion?
While in line, the floor will be marked for people to show them how close they can come to the person in front of them.  For the brief moment that the communicant approaches the priest, they will be closer than six feet, but it will be brief and both will be wearing masks.

Can someone receive Holy Communion in their car outside after Mass, or coming to the church entrance to receive after watching a streamed Mass at home?
Our first priority needs to be figuring out how to hold Mass safely and reverently in these Phase One times.  If a parish is able to do that for three weeks, then it may consider finding extra ways like this to give out Holy Communion.  However, many parishes will choose not to give out Holy Communion in that manner, and that decision by the pastor must be respected.

Could Communion be distributed at the end of Mass, as people leave?
It could be, but it would not give people time to pray in church after receiving Communion, and therefore seems unnecessarily restrictive.

If a church is big enough, could Communion be distributed by the priest/deacon/EMHC going between the rows?
Yes, but only if there is enough room, and if every possible allowance is made for both reverence and safety.

Shouldn’t we hold off on the distribution of Communion until it is safer to do so?
It could be many months until we enter a phase in which things are “normal”.  We need to make plans on how to function at a reasonable safe level in these coming weeks and months.  That being said, anyone who is fearful of this or of coming to church in any way is in no way required to do so.  The dispensation from the Sunday obligation remains in place.

If a parishioner decides not to receive Communion, will they still have to move out of the way to let others by?
Yes.

Parishioners are asked to wear mask as they approach for communion. Could you provide some language that we could give suggesting that people receive communion with mask on, step to the side, lower mask and consume communion, then return to pew.Yes, that language is in the document.  See the bullet list on receiving Holy Communion, page six.

Can the deacon receive the Precious Blood by intinction?No, because the priest will have drunk out of that chalice

Cleaning and Disinfecting

View our cleaning video HERE.

Is it appropriate to ask volunteers to perform the cleaning duties to prepare the Church for reopening and/or between the Masses?
There has been a tremendous amount of public education about what COVID-19 is (a respiratory illness) and how it is transmitted (through contact with the aerosolized virus produced by coughing or sneezing). In cleaning a church that is empty of worshippers before or between Masses, and with proper protective gear such as gloves and masks, and being diligent about good hygiene practices following the cleaning process, there is no more risk to the cleaners than we all assume in entering the supermarkets and pharmacies where we shop.

Where do we find assistance with questions of cleaning the churches?
Go HERE

Our church has upholstered pews. What works for those?
Go HERE

What is meant by “deep cleaning”?
Deep cleaning is a comprehensive (detergent or soap and water) cleaning of all areas of a room, walls (at least 6′ up), floors, surface areas and contact areas as well as disinfecting those areas.

Do people who are cleaning have to wear masks, gowns, and gloves?
Yes, masks and gloves, but they don’t have to wear gowns.

Does the archdiocese have the capacity to assist parishes with procurement of necessary materials for sanitizing: sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizers, foggers, spray bottles?
Unfortunately, no, not beyond what has already been ordered and delivered. We will continue to assist in identifying, where possible, sources for the equipment and supplies. Go HERE,

What about restrooms?
Restrooms need to be available.  They need to be cleaned between Masses, and users should be encouraged to clean them as much as possible after each use. One of the volunteers needs to monitor restroom use.

How would volunteers be trained?
Walk through each aspect of the Mass with them.  Be sure that they have a particular and well articulated role.  Be sure they know what to do if something is going wrong.  Follow up with them after Mass to see how things went for them, and if they were comfortable in their role.  Don’t pressure them to continue if they are not comfortable.  For instance, it might be very hard for someone to tell another parishioner they cannot come in because they church is full.  They need the right to opt out of that if it makes them uncomfortable. View our cleaning video HERE.

Registering for Masses

Will there be an application available to help with registrations?
Yes. Please go here.

What kinds of fees are associated with these registration services?
You should be able to get a functional one for $20-$30/month.  Some of them may be free for a trial period.  EventBrite does not charge for no cost events.

Is a registration system required?
What is required is that a parish be able to show how they are going to limit the number of people in the church effectively.  If a parish has another way of doing that, they can use that way, but the end goal of a strictly limited number of people in the church, remaining socially distant, must be met without exception.

If registrations are made for Mass, should that be on a week by week basis to give everyone a chance?
Yes, and if churches are filling up, people should be encouraged to give their spot to someone else sometimes.

We will have difficulty with the registration software because so many people do not have internet.
Registration by phone should also be made available to your parishioners.

What happens to the Mass registration list after the Mass?
It should be kept by the parish for at least 14 days after the Mass unless the local department of health requests otherwise.

Attendance and Capacity

What happens when the church reaches capacity?
People have to be turned away.  This is hard but real.  Hopefully the effective use of registration software will help keep that from happening.  If a person absolutely will not leave, you probably have to ask someone else to leave.

How was the number 40% decided upon? It seems arbitrary.
Forty percent is the State of Massachusett’s number.  The fact is that most of our churches cannot possibly get to forty percent capacity and maintain social distancing.

For a parish with multiple priests, can we use a hall to have Mass if we reach our capacity?
Yes, but the hall would have to be prepared with all of the same signage and markings that are required in the church, and there would have to be the same opportunity for people to receive Holy Communion safely.  Don’t do it if you can’t do it safely.

How do we ascertain the number of people allowed in our church within our own municipality?
The local fire department has likely issued an occupancy permit, and most municipalities would probably respect that number.  But a call to the local fire department to confirm that could be a good idea.

Phase 1 says that groups of not more than 10 can meet.
Earlier models for a possible Phase One had the limit of 10 people in a gathering.  The Reopening Plan announced this week for the first phase changed that number for Churches to 40% of the capacity allowed by the building permit.

Social Distancing

How do we mark off the areas in the church people should sit?
A best practice may be to mark areas where people should sit (say with a cross in blue painter’s tape on the pew), rather than the places they shouldn’t sit.  When figuring this out, take into account that some spots will be for individuals and some for families – you may need to have two kinds of seating that way.

Can families sit together?
Usually.  Members of the same household can sit together.  Families can do so only if they are members of the same household.

What if someone refuses to respect social distancing?
That person puts the other members of the congregation at risk, and needs to be asked to leave.  It may require a priest, deacon, or parish staff member to do this, as volunteers may feel uncomfortable doing so.

How do we do social distancing in a small church?
It may be much harder.  If you have two churches in your parish or collaborative, you may well decide to use the bigger one.

Is there a recommendation for what type of tape to use on the floors?
Use painter’s tape or masking tape.

How can people leave church in the safest way?
The safest thing will be to have volunteers invite people to leave row by row.  It is probably best to start with the rows at the rear of the church nearest the exit doors to avoid people passing each other as they leave.

Signage

Are there examples of signage?
Pilot Printing is making signage available. Go here: https://pilotprintingshop.net/categories/covid.html

 

Vulnerable Populations and COVID-19

Who is restricted from coming to Mass?
No one, unless they are ill or have tested positive for COVID-19.  But the elderly or those with health conditions that put them at particular risk are certainly being encouraged to stay home, by both the Cardinal and the Governor.

Could a parish have a Mass just for seniors, so that they would not be exposed to so many other people who may have been out and about?
You could consider that, but you want to be very sure that you are not encouraging people who are in vulnerable age ranges to come out. And you can’t promise them protection from everyone – there will still need to be volunteers to help make the Mass happen.  And what happens if someone who is not a senior shows up – would you turn them away?

Can the Mass obligation for seniors be fulfilled by going to a weekday Mass?
The Mass obligation is currently suspended for everyone.  Seniors certainly could choose a weekday Mass, but you want to be sure you are not encouraging people in vulnerable age groups to come out.

What are the legal ramifications if a parishioner gets the virus after attending Mass?
While we cannot anticipate all possible scenarios, as long as the parish complies with state and local guidelines and adheres to the published recommendations there should be no ramifications.

What legalities do we have to keep in mind?
The parish needs to comply with the directives and guidance from the state.  People who are vulnerable or at risk are encouraged to stay home for now.  Decisions to attend Mass or to stay home are left to those individuals.

Do we ask volunteers who are or appear to be in a high risk demographic to sign a liability waiver?
The risks of COVID-19 to the public and especially to vulnerable populations are well known, and those at risk are encouraged to stay at home by the state and the Church.  If someone decides to come to the Church, they assume that risk on their own.  No waiver is needed.

Are parishes required to have contact identification/tracing protocols?
Parishes will need to have contact tracing protocols and forms for their office operations. They should contact their local department of health for guidance in the event they become aware of a Mass attendee that has tested positive.

Do parish offices need to have isolation areas for employees who develop COVID-19 like symptoms, even if every one drives themselves to work?
Yes, because the employee may not be feeling well enough to drive home.

If an employee says they are “vulnerable,” must they report to work now or may they continue to work at home?
The Governor’s recommendation is for the vulnerable to remain home, and work from home should be arranged or continue where possible.

Are the COVID-19 priests and locations still restricted?
For as long as the ministry is needed and continued, the COVID Priest Teams will have their sole focus as ministering to COVID patients.  As a specific priest leaves to return to other responsibilities, he will be replaced, and he will be tested and quarantined until it is certain that he is COVID negative.

Can Lectors be over 65?
Yes, but a person who is over 65 should not be encouraged to come to church, and a parish needs to be sure that it is not inadvertently encouraging an older person to do something they may not be inclined to do by scheduling them to lector.

Protecting God's Children and CORI Questions

In relation to CORI screening how can we handle this with parishioners with social distancing? Considering paper is involved? Code of Conduct forms are also in paper format. How can we balance paper in relation to CORIs and Code of Conduct.
Under current guidance, the state is permitting the applicant to have their subject verification completed by on-line video platform or by notary public (which may include a fee) and the signed form can be mailed to, or dropped off at, the parish or the appropriate address, then scanned and emailed to the Office of Background Screening. The parish must retain the original application in a secure manner or it may be sent to the Office of Background Screening. Additional information will be provided and posted on the COVID 19 webpage.

For Protecting God’s Children (PGC) training we only have an in-person option. Are you permitted to do this on a resource like ZOOM for meetings?
The Office of Child Advocacy is currently arranging for on-line Virtus training as well as other requirements. Additional information will be provided as the on-line training is approved.

 

Faith Formation, Mission Trips, Prayer and Recovery Groups

What about twelve step programs in the hall?
At this time, only Masses are being restarted.  When we have experience with doing that, we can revisit hosting other groups.

What about prayer groups and Bible studies? Can they meet again?
At this time, only Masses are being restarted.  For now, focus on getting Mass right, and put off having other groups for a while, or, even better, have them online.

How about Religious Education classes?
We don’t know much about what will be allowed to start in the fall of 2020.  It seems like it would be a good idea to try to figure out how to bring as much of your faith formation curriculum on line as possible.  The team in the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation and Parish Support is actively working on this question. There is webinar scheduled for June 8 – see www.bostoncatholic.org/webinars to register.

Can we plan for summer mission trips?
At this time, group trips are not permitted.  It seems unlikely that summer mission trips would go forward, and it can be very difficult to recover money spent on them ahead of time, so it would be our advice that you not plan on trips this summer.

Parish Offices

In parish office, if staff members are beyond 6 feet apart or in their own office alone, is a mask still necessary?
If the staff member is alone in an office with a closed door they may remove the mask. If there are others in the office, even if they are more than 6 ft away, the mask must be worn.

What legalities do we have to keep in mind?
The parish needs to comply with the directives and guidance from the state.  People who are vulnerable or at risk are encouraged to stay home for now.  Decisions to attend Mass or to stay home are left to those individuals.

Do we ask volunteers who are or appear to be in a high risk demographic to sign a liability waiver?
The risks of COVID-19 to the public and especially to vulnerable populations are well known, and those at risk are encouraged to stay at home by the state and the Church.  If someone decides to come to the Church, they assume that risk on their own.  No waiver is needed.

Are parishes required to have contact identification/tracing protocols?
Parishes will need to have contact tracing protocols and forms for their office operations. They should contact their local department of health for guidance in the event they become aware of a Mass attendee that has tested positive.

Do parish offices need to have isolation areas for employees who develop COVID-19 like symptoms, even if every one drives themselves to work?
Yes, because the employee may not be feeling well enough to drive home.

If an employee is not working due to being home with a child out of school and being paid under the FFCA their wages do not count in the expenditure of PPP funds. Should that person also be excluded from the base period calculations of FTE’s ?
In a case like this you should call the Human Resources office of the Archdiocese for individual advice.

If an employee says they are “vulnerable,” must they report to work now or may they continue to work at home?
The Governor’s recommendation is for the vulnerable to remain home, and work from home should be arranged or continue where possible.

Some offices are in the rectory. How should they function?
At the very least, common areas such as kitchens should be restricted to use by the priests living in the rectory.  For further help with your particular situation contact corona@rcab.org.

If the virus surges again, could we be shut down again?

Yes.