Statement of the Archdiocese of Chicago on Updating its COVID-19 Mitigation Protocols in Accordance with Restore Illinois Phase 5 beginning Friday, June 11, 2021
In accordance with Restore Illinois Phase 5 local and state guidance, the Archdiocese of Chicago will update its COVID-19 mitigation protocols as noted below effective June 11, 2021. Additional guidance specific to school-related activities, mission trips and summer camps is forthcoming and will include some exceptions to that noted below.
- All capacity restrictions are lifted.
- Masses, liturgies, sacramental celebrations, parish and school events, and all offices may resume 100% capacity.
- Physical distancing is not required for vaccinated persons.
- Physical distancing up to 6 feet of separation is recommended by public health authorities for unvaccinated persons when possible.
- Masks are not required for vaccinated persons. The only exception is a priest or deacon celebrating infant baptism. He should continue to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status when he is close to the infant’s nose and mouth to protect the health of the infant. The priest or deacon need not wear a mask during the rest of the service.
- Masks are recommended by public health authorities for unvaccinated persons indoors, particularly in crowded venues.
- Masks are recommended for unvaccinated children.
- Hand sanitizer should remain prominently available in churches, schools and offices.
Masses and Liturgies:
All forms of sacramental and liturgical ministry may resume normal practice with the exceptions noted below:
- Registration is no longer required. Parishes should maintain their reservations system accounts in the event registration needs to be resumed should concerning pandemic metrics warrant such action.
- Proof of vaccination is not required for attendance at liturgies or services.
- Holy Water fonts may be filled and used.
- Ushers may resume their pre-pandemic routine; registration greeters can be re-directed to support the hospitality team in welcoming everyone returning to in-person worship and into the parish community.
- Choirs, congregational singing, oral responses, and the use of worship aids, envelopes and bulletins may be fully resumed.
- The Sign of Peace is being restored in whatever form is comfortable for those at Mass. It is important to be sensitive to individual comfort levels for exchanging the Sign of Peace.
- Reception of Holy Communion:
- Receiving Holy Communion in the hand no longer requires extra hand sanitizing on the part of the Communicant. However, the priest and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should continue to sanitize their hands prior to distributing Communion.
- Receiving Holy Communion on the tongue may resume. However, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion must have hand sanitizer nearby and use it immediately in the event of contact with saliva.
- Distributing/receiving Holy Communion from the cup remains suspended; concelebrants should proceed with the practice of intinction (dipping the host in the wine so a communicant receives both together.)
- The archdiocese will communicate when sharing of the cup may resume.
- All social gatherings (potlucks, office luncheons, parish picnics, carnivals, etc.) may resume incorporating the guidance on masks and physical distancing noted here.
Reporting COVID-19-related Illnesses:
Parishes should continue to encourage parishioners to report when they become COVID-19 positive and if they attended a Mass or liturgy within three days of diagnosis. Additionally, parishes, offices and agencies should request staff to report COVID-19 positive diagnoses. In such instances, parishes, offices and agency supervisors should continue to submit an Intake Form. School leaders should continue to submit the School Intake Form.
- Parishes should post a notice with date and time of Mass/liturgy on the parish website alerting parishioners who were also in attendance that they should monitor their health, especially if they are unvaccinated.
Anointing of the Sick:
Beginning July 1, the COVID-19 Anointing Team will be deactivated and parishes will resume providing anointers for hospitals within their area.
The Archdiocese of Chicago’s COVID-19 task force will continue to monitor local and state public health guidance and provide updates to current protocols as needed.