Is no longer okay in church

When can you as a believer participate in (public) church services again?

Since February 7th, it is again allowed to participate in public church services. It is also possible to visit churches for personal devotion - subject to the FFP2 mask requirement and a minimum distance of 2 meters from other people.

What should be considered when celebrating church services?

The most important rules are that an increased minimum distance of two meters must be observed during church services and that an FFP2 mask must always be worn both indoors and outdoors. The mask requirement applies during the entire public service. Excluded from this are pregnant women and children up to the age of 6; Children aged 6 to 14 can still wear mouth and nose protection instead of the FFP2 mask.

The minimum distance of two meters may then be fallen short of "if this requires the performance of religious acts", such as the dispensing of sacraments. In this case, an FFP2 mask must always be worn. The mask requirement also applies to open-air worship. The minimum distance of 2 meters must also be maintained outdoors and disinfectants must be provided.

Since the frequent donning and doffing of an FFP2 mask is problematic, the person who leads the service - usually the priest - will usually not wear a mask either. The service of acolytes is possible with a minimum distance of 2 meters and a mask.

One of the general rules is that the holy water fonts in the churches are emptied and cleaned. Disinfectant dispensers must be clearly visible at the church entrance. Surfaces or objects (e.g. door handles, but also books, benches, ambo) that are touched repeatedly must be cleaned and disinfected frequently. A welcome service from the parish is supposed to receive those arriving before the service and give the necessary advice. The churches must be "ventilated as well as possible" before and after the services.

The basis for the set of rules is the agreement between the Ministry of Culture and the churches and religious communities.

Is congregation and choir singing allowed at church services?

From May 19th Congregational singing will be possible again, but this is "to be reduced in terms of its duration and scope", as they say. Choir singing in church services is only possible if evidence of a low epidemiological risk is provided. Accordingly, it must be proven whether someone has been vaccinated, tested or recovered. When singing, a distance of at least two meters must be maintained, whereby the FFP2 mask requirement is not applicable. For the rehearsals of church choirs, the same provisions of the COVID-19 Opening Ordinance apply as for associations, said Leichtfried, who referred to the website of the choir association (https://chorverband.at).

What should be considered when receiving communion?

There are detailed rules for receiving communion: The hosts must be covered during mass until communion is given. Shortly before handing out the hosts, the priest has to put on the FFP2 mask and wash or disinfect his hands thoroughly by the sideboard in the chancel. This also applies to the other communion donors. "For hygienic reasons, they only receive communion after the communion has gone to communion", is recorded.

When going to communion, the believers must keep a minimum distance of two meters. The words "The Body of Christ - Amen" are dropped immediately when the believers receive communion. The priest can say these words after "See the Lamb of God ... Lord, I am not worthy", to which everyone answers with "Amen". "Communion in hand is urgently recommended", it is emphasized and it goes on to say: "With Holy Communion in their hands, the believers step at least two meters to the side in order to receive communion in peace and dignity." Communion in the mouth is more precise: it is "only possible if it is received at the end of communion".

What should you watch out for in baptisms, weddings and funerals?

It will be a relief from May 19th also at Baptisms and weddings give: If these could only take place in the smallest circle so far, they will be possible again from Wednesday, May 19, in the same way as first communions and confirmations in compliance with the general Corona rules for church services and with a corresponding prevention concept.

At Funerals The previous corona-related rules for worship continue to apply to the wake, the requiem or the celebration of the Word of God in the church. Due to the new legal relaxation, the number of people in the cemetery is no longer limited.

Can I go to church when there are no services?

Yes, that is expressly possible - the churches remain open. When entering, an FFP2 mask must be worn and a minimum distance of 2 meters from other people must be maintained.