OCEAN CITY, Md. — Nearly 60 people showed up for Mass at Holy Savior Church on Memorial Day, the first celebration of the liturgy in more then two months as restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus begin to be eased.
Father John Solomon, administrator at the parish, celebrated the first Mass at the church since the middle of March. He said ushers helped instruct churchgoers of precautions such as where to sit and cleansing of hands.
“People were very happy to be back,” Father Solomon said. “It’s been a long time.”
The diocese announced last week that Masses may resume in Maryland with social-distancing guidelines in place beginning May 25. Public Masses can begin again in Delaware with daily Mass June 1 and weekend Masses June 6-7 as the diocese is reopening churches in accordance with ease of restrictions aimed at limiting spread of coronavirus in the state.
Bishop Malooly on March 15 announced no public Masses would be held in the diocese and dispensed of the Sunday obligation to attend Mass in the effort to limit the spread of the disease. Regulations limiting large gatherings were adopted in both states and the dispensation was intended to conform to those guidelines. The dispensation remains until further notice.
The diocese wants churchgoers to maintain six feet of separation and wear masks among other precautions. People in at-risk categories and anyone feeling ill should continue to stay at home and pastors have been encouraged to continue livestreaming services, the bishop said.
The holiday weekend at the shore has been a test of coronavirus precautions. Father Solomon said he has seen evidence of people following social-distancing protocol and other safety measures.
Churchgoers also attended an outdoor service at St. Francis de Sales parish in Salisbury, Md.