Austria Enters Another Lockdown and Bishops Issue Precautions Trying Not to Exclude Anyone from Worship
Austria has entered its 4th Lockdown due to the pandemic. The bishops, however, do not wish to exclude anyone from worship. Masks, sanitation and distancing according to the government's regulations will be practiced. Liturgical ministers will be required to show either proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. Choirs are not permitted but 4 cantors are allowed. The bishops have also asked the Holy Father, Pope Francis to postpone their ad-limina visit.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, meanwhile, also publicly affirmed the request of the Bishops' Conference to postpone the date: "In the current stressful situation it is necessary to stand together, keep talking to one another and maintain what connects us. That can only be done together," wrote the Archbishop of Vienna on twitter.
Here is an excerpt from the Recent Regulations issued by the Bishops of Austria: (Full regulations: https://www.bischofskonferenz.at/dl/lONkJmoJkKNoJqx4KJKJKJKLmKlM/Rahmenordnung_der_OEBK_zur_Feier_oeffentlicher_Gottesdienste_ab_22112021_pdf
With this framework, the bishops of Austria react to the current epidemiological
Situation. In order not to exclude anyone from the celebration of public worship services from the outset, participation continues without evidence of a low epidemiological risk within the meaning of current state regulation to combat the spread of COVID-19 (i.e. without 2G or 3G proof) possible. In this way, services are celebrated with dignity and without endangering them the protective measures below must be observed. Essential
Requirements are personal responsibility and consideration.
The diocesan bishop (local ordinary) can issue detailed provisions for the parishes in a region and, if necessary, for the entire diocese on the basis of this framework
This framework applies to celebrations of worship. For other church events
(Parish café, group meetings, church concerts, choir rehearsals2 etc.) the state regulations apply
for the respective type of event. For school church services, the regulations of this framework apply in conjunction with any diocesan requirements for church services and the regulations of the BMBWF for school operations. Concretizations are issued by the diocesan school authorities.
For public services apply - against the background of
current legal situation - the following regulations:
- A distance from other people who are not in the same household is required
live from at least 2 meters. Appropriate precautions must be taken for this (e.g.
Cordoning off church pews). The minimum distance specified in this framework
may be undercut if this requires the performance of religious acts - however, an FFP2 mask must be worn (see details below).
- It is compulsory to wear an FFP2 mask during the entire service (also during services in the open air).
• Children from 6 to 14 years of age and pregnant women
may also wear mouth and nose protection ("MNS"). Children are excluded
under 6 years and persons with medical confirmation from health
Reasons for not being able to wear MNS.
• Insofar as it is not possible to wear the FFP2 mask during the celebration for the performance of the liturgical services (priest, lecturer, cantor, etc.),
they are exempted from this for the absolutely necessary period of time, but must be
Compensation, keep sufficient safety distances and the following details for actions in ritual practice.
- Liturgical services - especially those of acolytes - are essential and desirable.
- The head of the office and all other liturgical services must adhere to the following requirements:
• "3G evidence" (evidence of a low epidemiological risk within the meaning of
current state regulation to combat the spread of COVID-19);
• Wash your hands thoroughly (with warm water and soap) or disinfect your hands immediately before the start of the celebration.