PORTLAND — Catholic churches in Maine will allow up to 50% capacity or 100 people total (whichever is less) at indoor daily and Sunday Masses effective Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Since June 1, the Diocese of Portland has allowed Maine churches to hold public Masses with restrictions and safeguards in place, including a maximum of 50 persons in attendance. Despite the increase in capacity, the restrictions and safeguards will remain in effect, including:

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

·       Pew seating arrangements established to keep each person/family at least six feet from the next person/family.

·       Communion offered with social-distancing guidelines adhered to in the form of six feet of space between recipients. The distribution of the shared consecrated wine for the faithful is still suspended.

·       Seats and pews sanitized after each Mass.

·       The flow of foot traffic goes in one direction to avoid crowding.

·       All pews, knobs, door handles, bathrooms, altars, musical equipment and touched surfaces are cleaned after Masses.

·       Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are positioned in churches.

In addition, parishes will continue to keep track of attendance in a variety of ways, including sign-up sheets and online registration. For more information about the Diocese of Portland’s contact tracing policy, visit www.portlanddiocese.org/ContactTracingCompliance.

The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass continues to be in place, and the live-streamed Masses being offered at churches around Maine (www.portlanddiocese.org/live-streamed-Masses) continue. Changes to the schedules of public Masses, live-streamed Masses, parking lot Masses and other special events will be updated on the Diocese of Portland’s Coronavirus Response page (www.portlanddiocese.org/response-coronavirus).

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