This Article is From Jun 24, 2020

Churches Can Reopen With Strict Conditions: Goa Archbishop

The Goa government had allowed reopening of religious places on June 8, but many such places, including churches, were reluctant to do so fearing spike in coronavirus cases.

Churches Can Reopen With Strict Conditions: Goa Archbishop

Filipe Neri Ferrao said the priest in charge has to ensure thorough cleanliness of the church (File)

Panaji:

Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao today said churches will be allowed to reopen with strict conditions like ensuring the sitting arrangement with a physical distance of six feet to be adhered to by priests and parishioners.

Churches located in containment or buffer zones identified by the state administration will not be allowed to open.

Churches, which have been closed for public worship since the enforcement of the lockdown on March 24, will have to obtain permission from the archbishop before opening up for public.

"On receipt of petition, the Diocesan Authority will send a delegate for an on-site inspection and will grant the requested permission only if he is satisfied that the church/chapel/shrine can in fact comply with all the requirements," the archbishop stated in an advisory.

The Goa government had allowed reopening of religious places on June 8, but many such places, including churches, were reluctant to do so fearing spike in coronavirus cases.

In the advisory, Filipe Neri Ferrao allowed religious services only after fulfilment of conditions like maintaining social distancing, making available hand sanitisers, sanitising church premises and using non-contact thermometers to examine visitors.

The archbishop has said the priest in charge has to ensure thorough cleanliness and disinfection of the sacred place and of the surrounding premises regularly.

"The place of worship has to be well ventilated. The seating arrangement with physical distancing of six feet is marked out," he added.

The archbishop said that hand sanitisers should be made available for the use of the faithful.

"A contact-less thermometer is in place to check the body temperature of those who enter (churches). Holy water stoups or fonts are kept dry," he stated.

Volunteers be assigned the task of ensuring that social distance is maintained, the archbishop advised.