In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the territory of the Diocese of Tyler, Bishop Joseph Strickland has promulgated the following temporary regulations. These are effective March 10, 2020, and until further notice.
- The faithful should stay home if they are sick or are experiencing symptoms. If a person is ill, they are not bound by the obligation to attend Mass, including on Sunday. Out of charity to others, sick individuals should not attend liturgical celebrations or other parish events.
- Distribution from the common chalice during Communion is temporarily suspended.
- The exchange of a sign of peace is to be retained in all Masses (Order of the Mass, No. 128), temporarily, however, it is to be exchanged without physical contact.
- The holding of hands during Mass is not encouraged.
- The manner of receiving the host (in the hand or on the tongue) is the choice of each individual communicant. Both methods may risk the spread of disease, so it is important for ministers of Communion to exercise good hygiene. Nevertheless, if applicable, the faithful may consider receiving Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue.
- Ordinary and extraordinary ministers of Communion should practice good hygiene, washing hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, before and after distributing Communion.
As a reminder, following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/), the Diocese of Tyler recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.