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Buffalo Diocese announces updated COVID-19 practices

Starting this weekend, when seated in church or at outdoor gatherings, masks may be removed at the discretion of the individual.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Diocese of Buffalo is making some changes to its policies and practices in light of recent updated COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The following takes effect this weekend for Pentecost Sunday:

  • Masks: At all Masses and parish events, masks should continue to be worn upon entry and exit, and at any time where there is movement or a closeness to others, for instance, when the Communion procession forms. (Ministers of the Eucharist should be masked when distributing Communion as should those receiving.) When seated, or when at an outdoor gathering, masks may be removed/relaxed at the discretion of the individual.
  • Vaccinations: Participation at in-person Masses and other parish events should not be contingent on vaccination status, nor should individuals be questioned regarding their vaccination status or asked to produce a vaccine card.
  • Capacity: Since every act of worship is public, in line with guidance for other public settings where vaccine status is not checked, capacity should continue to be based on the capacity of each worship space with six feet of separation introduced between households. 
  • Outdoor Gatherings: Outdoor Masses may be organized, adhering to guidelines for indoor celebrations. However, non-worship activities should be mindful of outdoor event capacities and current restrictions from the state.

There are also updates for Liturgical Ministries, Sacramental celebrations, singing, food, community and youth gatherings as well as sanitization of surfaces. Read more about those updates here.

The Diocese reminds Catholics that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass remains in effect.