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Update and Summary of Levels of Participation

May 30, 2020

 

Dear Reverend Fathers and Parish Council Presidents,

Several members of the clergy have contacted the Metropolis regarding Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order No. 38, issued last evening, removing restrictions on the free exercise of religion. As you may be aware, Executive Order No. 38 provides:

4a. Free exercise of religion. This Executive Order does not limit the free exercise of religion. To protect the health and safety of faith leaders, staff, congregants and visitors, religious organizations and houses of worship are encouraged to consult and follow the recommended practices and guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health. As set forth in the IDPH guidelines, the safest practices for religious organizations at this time are to provide services online, in a drive-in format, or outdoors (and consistent with social distancing requirements and guidance regarding wearing face coverings), and to limit indoor services to 10 people. Religious organizations are encouraged to take steps to ensure social distancing, the use of face coverings, and implementation of other public health measures.

Executive Order No. 38 encourages us, but does not require us, to follow the recommendations of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Click here for the IDPH guidance for review by you and your COVID-19 Safety Team.

All parishes remain required to comply with the May 20, 2020 Directive, including obtaining the blessing of the Metropolitan to enter Level 2, and subsequently the blessing to enter Level 3. The Metropolis created a phased program for parishes to prepare and to welcome the return of their congregants. Rather than setting an arbitrary date for this reunion, we provided directives and guidance to help our parishes establish necessary conditions for safely receiving the faithful back into their parish homes. This means that we are likely to see different levels of participation parish to parish, at least early on in this process. I am sure, however, that very soon all of our parishes will enter Level 3.

 

As of this morning:

  Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

IL

71%

29%

0
IN 80%

20%

0

IA 67% 33%

0

MN

50%

50%

0

MO

0

100%

0

WI

66%

17%

17%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Levels of Participation Summary

Level 1 parishes may conduct virtual services with minimal staffing.

Level 2 parishes are limited to 10-person gathering, including staffing. This is the period for the parish to test their systems, work through any logistical issues in opening the parish buildings while adhering to social distancing (currently 6-feet between persons), as well as health and safety protocols. By requiring parishes to determine social distancing-observant seating, the parish is able to determine the maximum number of individuals able to attend services at one time.

Level 3 parishes are limited to gathering sizes as permitted by applicable governmental authority.

Level 4 parishes return to pre-COVID-19 conditions.

 

Clarification as to Level 3

Each parish in the Metropolis is required to comply with the laws, ordinances, and orders of governing civil authorities. In addition, each parish is required to follow the guidance of the CDC and local governing authority as to social distancing, cleaning and sanitation, facemask or other facial covering, and facility maintenance. As of this writing, with respect to restrictions or recommendations as to gathering limits for religious activities as set forth by local authorities:

Illinois – the IDPH recommends that gatherings be limited to the lesser of 25% capacity or 100 people. Effective immediately, a parish in Level 3 must comply with the attendee limitation determined as the lesser of: (a) 25% capacity; or (b) 100 people; or (c) the number of seats available in observance of social distancing.

Iowa – no restrictions. Applying the social distancing requirements, however, immediately sets limitations on the number of individuals able to attend services. The maximum number of attendees is determined as part of the work of the COVID-19 Safety Team.

Indiana - no restrictions. Applying the social distancing requirements, however, immediately sets limitations on the number of individuals able to attend services. The maximum number of attendees is determined as part of the work of the COVID-19 Safety Team.

Minnesota – Executive Order 20-63 has established maximum attendance at indoor services to the lesser of 25% capacity or 250 people, with outdoor services capacity at 250 people.

Missouri - no restrictions, unless imposed by local government authority. Applying the social distancing requirements, however, immediately sets limitations on the number of individuals able to attend services. The maximum number of attendees is determined as part of the work of the COVID-19 Safety Team.

Wisconsin – no restrictions, unless imposed by local government authority (such as Dane County and Milwaukee County). Applying the social distancing requirements, however, immediately sets limitations on the number of individuals able to attend services. The maximum number of attendees is determined as part of the work of the COVID-19 Safety Team.

Please rest assured that the Metropolis will continue to monitor the changing landscape and will continue to offer you guidance and helpful information as it becomes available to us.

In closing, I would like to convey to you His Eminence’s blessings. Our Metropolitan is grateful for your vigilance and cooperation, and he urges you to continue to submit to us recommendations and suggestions based on your own experience at the local parish level.

 

In Christ,

+Very Rev. Timothy G. Bakakos Chancellor