Church won't sound anything like it used to as worshippers plan for COVID-19 pandemic measures
3 min read
Congregations aren't likely to hear any live choirs any time soon. Masks and social distancing will be in, while even the collection plate will have to go
As provinces reopen after extended shutdowns to battle the COVID-19 outbreak, churches are scrambling to devise guidelines for mass, choirs, confession and everything else that goes along with worship.

One thing is certain: church won't sound anything like it used to.

"Some parishes may not have music at all, some parishes may just have a single singer," said Neil MacCarthy, the director of public relations and communications for the Archdiocese of Toronto. "It would be rare to see large choirs singing because the challenges to ensure the physical distancing amongst the instrumentalists and the choir members is very difficult and not practical in most parishes."

For some, just attending church might be difficult because of the reduced number of people allowed to gather under physical distancing rules.

MacCarthy said parishes in Ontario are looking at a few different ways of distributing a limited number of seats fairly. Some are looking at an online reservation system but worry it could shortchange church-goers who may not be tech-savvy enough to snag a seat.

These measures will be vitally important, with older Canadians, who are more susceptible to the disease, much more likely to attend. The first wave of COVID-19 saw several outbreaks among church choirs and in churches themselves.

After a choir met for practice in early March in Washington State, dozens of members contracted the virus and at least two died. At a cathedral in Berlin, 59 people in the 78-member choir contracted COVID-19, showing how uniquely…
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