STA, 19 December 2020 - Religious ceremonies were once again allowed in Slovenia starting from Saturday [19 December] after weeks of strict lockdown. Although the move comes just in time for Christmas, no midnight masses will be held this year, the Catholic Church has decided.
Slovenia confirmed 395 new cases of coronavirus in just under 1,500 tests on Sunday, for a positivity rate of about 27%, and 26 deaths, show the latest government data.
Despite the fact that religious ceremonies are allowed once again under strict precautionary measures, masses will not be held in all of Slovenia. The six dioceses will be deciding individually about masses in their churches.
By Friday evening only the Koper and Ljubljana dioceses allowed masses with believers present physically. In Ljubljana, this will only be allowed during weekdays, but not for the main holiday ceremonies.
The Novo Mesto diocese decided to allow masses with believers present as of Wednesday, while the dioceses of Celje, Murska Sobota and Maribor have decided against services with believers present for the time being.
Under the new rules, the number of people in church has been capped to one person per 30 square metres, unless the persons are members of the same household.
A safety distance of 1.5 metres has to be observed at all times between persons who are not members of the same household. No singing is allowed.
Masks are obligatory in churches, as is hand sanitation. Priests are allowed to give out Communion wafers upon disinfecting their hands. Wafers are to be placed in believers' hands and not in the mouth.
Moreover, the rules issued by the Bishops' Conference also prohibit any form of gathering on church grounds and also prohibit holding masses in the open.
Midnight masses will not be held this Christmas and Christmas Eve masses must conclude by 8 pm at the latest.
Not only religious ceremonies are allowed from today. The government also decided this week that shops selling technical goods, garden centres, and in the four regions with the lowest Covid-19 infection rates also museums and galleries, bookshops and gift shops, among others.
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