ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state would allow religious gatherings of no more than 10 people starting Thursday.
Parishioners must remain six feet apart and wear masks during services.
Cuomo encourages religious entities to consider moving services into outdoors or in parking lots, to allow people to practice social distancing.
“I think at this time of stress, and when people are so anxious and so confused, I think those religious ceremonies can be very comforting; but we need to figure out how to do it and do it safely and do it smartly. The last thing we want to do is have a religious ceremony that winds up having more people infected,” said Cuomo.
The state is also establishing an Interfaith Advisory Council to develop the best approach to safely bring back religious services.
The Diocese of Syracuse suspended all in-person Mass celebrations on March 16. At the end of April, Bishop Douglas Lucia and parish priests started discussions on how to safely reopen, which included the idea of outdoor Masses, allowing people to stay in their vehicles.
County Executive Anthony Picente said he is planning to set up a call with local religious leaders in the coming days to discuss guidelines and best practices.