EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Wednesday, the Diocese of El Paso lifted restrictions on funeral masses and vigils due to improving coronavirus case numbers, as well as lower hospitalization rates, in the city.
Safety protocols limit funeral attendance to 75 people for funeral masses and 25 people for burials. Social distancing, mask mandates and other protocols will be in place at the church and cemetery.
“It’s been a long and difficult journey through the first part of this pandemic and we’re so pleased finally to be able to say to families who have lost a loved one, ‘we’ll join you in offering the mass for your loved one and we’ll be able to be with you at the funeral home as well,” said Bishop Mark Seitz.
Seitz said that those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 in the nine months can still celebrate a loved one with a mass, even though it may be quite some time after a burial. He suggested reaching out to parishes to schedule a mass that can include more people.
According to a news release from the diocese, they worked with funeral home directors to develop a set of protocols to help ensure the safety of participants.
The Diocese of El Paso, along with El Paso funeral homes, are still encouraging those in high-risk
populations and the elderly to watch from home as live streams will be made available by
either the parish or the funeral home.
The diocese will continue to monitor the city’s hospitalization rates and number of cases to determine if they need to bring back restrictions in the future.