The Diocese of Joliet today announced that limits on church capacity will increase to 60% on Fri., May 14 as the state enters its “Bridge Phase” of COVID-19 mitigations. The state’s Bridge Phase serves as a path from current Phase 4 mitigations to the new normal of Phase 5 attained when more people are fully vaccinated and additional sectors of society reopen. Capacity limits at churches effective this coming Friday will reach a maximum of 60%, up to 250 people indoors, and 500 people outdoors. The new limits apply to all liturgical celebrations offered by diocesan churches, including Masses, weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations, etc. For confirmations that have already been scheduled under current limits, it is at the pastor’s discretion to adjust the capacity to 60%, if possible.

Several current requirements for churches in the diocese remain during the Bridge Phase: Masks must be worn, air flow and ventilation remain key, handwashing/sanitation is essential and advance registration for Mass, liturgies and other events is necessary. Dispensation from the requirement to attend Mass also remains in place.

Pastors are encouraged to implement the new protocols at a pace comfortable to them and their parishioners.