Further Advice to Parishes about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The key things for parishes to do are:

  1. Ensure everyone maintains good hygiene especially at Mass and parish gatherings. The best way of protecting us from spread is for everyone to use universal good hygiene, which will effectively disrupt spread of the virus. So display the public information poster which states:
  • Catch it – sneeze into a tissue
  • Bin it – bin the tissue
  • Kill it – wash your hands with soap and water
  • Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands.
  1. Ask anyone with cold or flu symptoms to refrain from taking Holy Communion from the Chalice and receive the Host on the hand only. (We should be doing this anyway, every flu season.) Ensure good regular cleaning of the surfaces that lots of people touch regularly.
  2. Remember to use good hand washing and gel use technique. People who do catering are especially important for hand hygiene, and it is very important to ensure cups and utensils are properly washed and cleaned and surfaces cleaned. Ensure Ministers of the Eucharist sanitise their hands before and after distributing Communion. (We should be doing this anyway as a matter of course.) This can be done by washing hands discreetly before proceeding to the sanctuary – or using good quality hand gel discreetly.
  3. There is no need as things stand for the Chalice to be withdrawn or the Sign of Peace to be suspended, such as was advised during the 2009 flu pandemic. This advice would only come if we had a very serious epidemic in the UK & C.I. and at the time of writing this is unlikely.
  4. When visiting parishioners at home, wash hands before giving the sacraments. No pastoral visits to people who are self-isolating until isolation ends. However do offer phone support.
  5. Visits to people in care homes or Hospitals should follow advice from the staff on infection control.