Churches to reopen to congregations on May 17

Churches to reopen to congregations on May 17

A joint decision by the ministries of Health and Religion due to be made public on Tuesday paves the way for churches in Greece to reopen their doors to their congregations on May 17, the Athens-Macedonian News Agency has reported.

According to the report, the decision applies to regular services but also to ceremonies like baptisms and weddings, and will be effective until June 5, when it will be reviewed by the authorities.

Churches, which were placed in lockdown in the runup to Greek Orthodox Easter in mid-April to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, will not operate without strict health guidelines, however.

The government has set limits, saying that only one person will be allowed inside churches per 10 square meter of their surface area and a distance of 1.5 meters at least must be maintained at all times between clerics and members of the congregation. A maximum of 50 people will be allowed in places of worship that have an area of more than 500 square meters.

The decision also advises the use of masks but makes the use of antiseptic hand gels or wipes mandatory for everyone entering a church or other religious venue.

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