Updated COVID-19 guidelines released for dioceses in Pennsylvania

Face masks, summer, warm temperatures.


PITTSBURGH (WKBN) – As the delta variant has spread to more than 90 countries and more people are being hospitalized, organizations are reevaluating their current COVID-19 protocols.

Some are reverting to old personal protective equipment standards, like the Diocese of Pittsburgh. In a statement released Sunday, the diocese urged parishioners to get vaccinated.

Even if they are vaccinated, the diocese now says all ushers, greeters, servers and ministers must wear a mask inside. Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask inside, but not required.

“Our response to the pandemic falls under the commandment, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’” Bishop David Zubik wrote in a letter to clergy of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. “For us as members of the Church of Pittsburgh, any response to COVID must be guided by the Catholic social principles of solidarity and the common good. It is impossible in these circumstances to make decisions that affect one person alone. COVID affects the whole community, so we must act with the whole community in mind.”

There was also a date set to step away from holding outdoor worship services, which was September 1, but the dioceses said the socially-distanced mass services can continue until further notice.

Similarly, parishioners will be expected to attend weekly worship again starting August 14, with health and wellness exceptions.

“Even those who have been vaccinated can carry and spread the virus, but research continues to show that masking provides significant protection for you and those with whom you interact. In the words of Pope Francis, vaccination and masking are ‘acts of charity,’” Bishop Zubik said.

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