EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz said local Catholic churches will not make changes to their coronavirus precautions despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift state mask mandates.
Seitz said he is encouraged by the number of people in the community who have been vaccinated and who are looking to get one against COVID-19. But the community is nowhere near the number of vaccinated people needed for reduced precautions, he added.
“This community is not anywhere near a level that experts refer to as ‘herd immunity’ and we will not reach that level for some time,” he said. “For the time being, churches will be limited to a maximum of 25 percent of their capacity.”
He said social distancing and masks will still be required at church facilities.
Seitz said many in the ministry say they’re still receiving calls from families with a loved one who is suffering from the symptoms of the virus.
The church has permitted celebrating funeral rites and weddings with the decline in numbers but those events have happened with precautions.
“For one thing, as the Governor has often pointed out, churches are free to exercise their religious liberty and set their own protocols,” he said. “The protocols we have established were intended to collaborate with state and local practices but were not undertaken under the direction of these entities.”