Macau’s Catholic diocese announced on Friday the reopening of its parish churches on March 7, “considering the latest development of the novel coronavirus [COVID-19] in Macau.”
However, according to a notice by the diocese’s chancery received by the Macau Post Daily Friday night, Sunday Masses will remain suspended (including Anticipated Sunday Masses on Saturday evenings) until further notice.
The notice also pointed out that “on weekdays parish churches will be open only for liturgies with a small number of participants, for private prayer, and small-scale religious activities, such as weekday Masses,” adding that “reception of groups of pilgrims from abroad will remain temporarily suspended.”
According to the notice, “Everyone entering the churches must strictly comply with public epidemic prevention measures and instructions laid down by the parishes, for example, wearing facemasks at all times, submitting to body temperature checks, use of liquid disinfectants, sitting at a considerable distance from each others, complying with the instructions of staff regarding movement within the church premises …”
The notice also underlined that Sunday School and catechism classes for children and youth in parishes remain suspended until Macau’s schools reopen.
The government has still to announce when Macau’s schools will reopen. An education official said yesterday that schools would possibly reopen in late April “or earlier”.
The notice urged the “faithful who feel indisposed or ill not to go church and seek immediate medical attention.”
According to the notice, the diocese will continue to provide live broadcast of Sunday Masses online (in Cantonese at 9:15 a.m., in Portuguese at 11 a.m. and in English at 5 p.m.), while live broadcasts of weekday Masses will be discontinued on March 7.
The diocese has a flock of about 35,000, not including non-local Catholics such as Filipinos, a source of diocese told the Macau Post Daily early this month.
Macau’s last novel coronavirus cases were confirmed on February 4. Eight of the 10 COVID-19 patients – seven tourists from Wuhan and three locals – have meanwhile been discharged from hospital.
While most of Macau’s casinos reopened after a 15-day mandatory shutdown on February 20, the city’s other entertainment venues, such as bars, karaoke bars and nightclubs, can reopen for business on Monday, the government announced on Thursday.