Government in Austria Allows Religious Services to Reopen from May 15 onward with Precautions

Austria: Worship services possible again from May 15th

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Tuesday, April 22, 2020  at a press conference in Vienna that services on Friday, May 15 with believers will be possible again.
Peter Schipka, Secretary General of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, confirmed this to Kathpress. The episcopal ad hoc commission held a video conference on Tuesday morning.

The bishops are therefore working intensively on a phased plan of how church life in Austria and, in a first step, public church meetings can be brought up again. One is also in good talks with the government, but with which some details still need to be discussed or agreed, said Schipka.

Kurz had emphasized at the press conference that the services - "naturally" - would only take place under certain conditions and safety regulations to protect health. For services as well as for all other areas, it is important to find the best possible arrangements in consultation with experts, according to Kurz. The most important basic rule is "that the distance rule is observed everywhere".

The responsible minister of culture, Susanne Raab, will present details of what the re-admission of public services will look like in consultation with all churches and religious communities next Thursday, the Chancellor announced.

On request, Kurz said that churches and religious communities should be treated just as specifically as all other areas. Church services are neither one with one comparable with the gastronomy nor with the events. The freedom to practice one's own religion was a "very, very high and constitutionally protected asset", Kurz said, and he was very grateful to all religious communities, "

Edited from