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Update to Diocesan Guidelines for COVID-19

July 16, 2021

From the Diocesan Covid-19 Response Team

Governor Ige’s July 8 updates to the State's Safe Travels Program and Reopening Hawai'i Strategy did not change any restrictions for the Catholic Church, except for the increases in limits for indoor and outdoor events. See list below.

All other directives expressed in past communications, especially Bishop Larry’s March 5, 2021 memo are still in place. While we do not enforce these policies, we continue to rely on the integrity of our pastors and parishes to consider the safety of our faithful with continued urgency and attention. New covid-19 cases and deaths are still a reality.

Although at times frustrating, we must remain patient and understanding as we abide by national, state, city, and diocesan policies.

• Spiritual Services (i.e., Sunday and daily Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, prayer groups, Stations of the Cross, etc.): Allowed at full capacity as long as we continue to maintain 6-foot distancing between singles (when alone) and 6’ between households.
• Masks must be worn by all who attend indoor functions such as Mass, other liturgical services, and meetings.
• Continue the use of hand sanitizing and washing hands as often as possible.

• Social distancing and no-touch greetings and Sign of Peace remain the norms.
• Holy Communion is to distributed only under one kind; namely, the Body of Christ.
• Singing by the entire congregation is still discouraged. Follow your county guidelines.
• The use of a small choir is permitted. If the parish is using a choir, choir members need to continue following the rules for indoor singing as directed by the state:
“Any person(s) singing shall maintain physical distancing of at least ten (10) feet from any other person(s) while singing. Members of the same performing group singing may be closer than ten (10) feet together while performing, provided the group consists of less than ten (10) persons. To the extent reasonable and practicable, a physical barrier (e.g., plexiglass) of sufficient size to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 shall separate any person(s) singing from any other person(s), but not including members of the same performing group.”
• In addition to the Entrance, Offertory, Communion and Leavetaking hymns – the Kyrie, Gloria, Responsorial Psalm, Gospel Acclamation and the rest of the Mass part responses could be sung by the choir, observing the proper precautions.
• A distance of 10 feet between the cantor and the congregation needs to be observed as much as possible.
• Sanitization is to continue between Masses.
• Social loitering/gatherings after Mass are discouraged.

With the State of Hawaii now in Tier 5, supervisors have the authority to determine in-office scheduling for their direct reports. This means that employees may be required to work from the office full-time or a hybrid of remote working and in-office work. We are monitoring County and State requirements and will be issuing updates should the situation change.

The following directives remain in force for employees and volunteers:
• You must wear a mask indoors unless alone without others around.
• Maintain social distancing of 6 feet. We can now have an indoor meeting up to 25 people as long as all individuals – even those fully vaccinated – are masked and can space out 6 ft.
• Please regularly disinfect your workspace and other communal equipment and high touch items (copiers, mail machines, refrigerator door handles, doorknobs, light switches, etc.)
• No communal food, potluck, or “food tables” allowed. Be aware of spacing and sanitation in the lunch room.

[UPDATED] Indoor events/meetings: Allowed now for up to 25 people maintaining 6-foot social distancing and masked.
[NEW] Outdoor events: Allowed up to 75 people with appropriate Covid-19 mitigation efforts in place.
• No communal food, potluck, or “food tables” allowed at parish events.
• Funeral Mass at Church continues with an URN only - at full capacity - as long as we maintain proper social 6-foot distancing (no change in this area). Bodies are not allowed to be transported to Houses of Worship per the Governor's Exhibit G of his 21st Proclamation.
• Use of conference/breakrooms: Allowed – spaced 6-feet apart.
• Religious Education continues as currently directed. Please check with the Office of Religious Education (Jayne Mondoy) and the Office of the YYAM (Lisa Gomes) for more information.