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Two years into the pandemic, the Diocese has lifted several COVID restrictions for its parishes, schools and Diocesan Pastoral Center (DPC).

In March, the schools and the DPC removed their mask requirements. In the letters to employees or school parents that announced that change, it was emphasized that individuals are welcome to continue wearing a mask if they choose.

“Please be respectful to each other for the choice made in wearing or not wearing a mask. We encourage those employees who may be immune compromised or share households with ‘high-risk’ individuals to wear masks, as their judgment dictates,” said Senior Director of Human Resources Virginia Turner in email to employees.

Additionally, the DPC reopened to the public on April 4. Some limitations such as temperature checks and limits on group sizes remain in effect. “Safety continues to be of the utmost importance here at the DPC. Common areas and frequently touched surfaces will continue to be cleaned daily,” added Turner.

Even more notably, Bishop Rojas announced on March 18 the news of the full reopening of parishes, which began on April 1.

“For two years, we have journeyed as a community in facing the challenges of the unprecedented pandemic ... I am happy to share that effective April 1, 2022, all parishes may return to pre-COVID operations and re-open worship, liturgies, ministries and parish offices without any restriction on capacity or duration, nor any mandates for masks, sanitizing or distancing,” wrote Bishop Rojas in the letter.

The letter added that pastors are still free to continue certain COVID protocols should they feel the need to do so. Bishop Rojas also encouraged parishes to maintain prudence after the full reopening by monitoring normal (non-COVID) capacity limits, regularly sanitizing any frequently touched areas, placing hand sanitizers within public use areas and reminding staff and volunteers to refrain from ministry work if they or a household member has any symptoms of illness.

“May Our Lord bless you in this hopeful time of reopening. I thank you for your faith and patience over these two years and assure you of my prayers for your good health and wellbeing,” said Bishop Rojas.

The Diocese’s Emergency Operations Collaborative (EOC) continues to work with the county in hosting vaccination and testing sites at parishes. Additionally, the Diocese will soon release another Public Service Announcement (PSA) in which Bishop Rojas encourages families to get vaccinated. The PSA will run in April and May.

“The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe, morally acceptable, and critical to keeping our communities healthy. We can all agree that our families are so precious to us. And they are precious to God. Why wouldn’t we do everything we can to protect them?” Bishop Rojas says in the PSA.