The Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine has developed and offered recommendations to the religious community lifting of the quarantine for religious organizations.
“This document was prepared more than two weeks ago. It was immediately submitted to the Ministry of Health to be analyzed and included in the general government recommendations on this issue,” said Director of the Department Andriy Yurash on his Facebook page. ”Unfortunately, due to the position of certain religious organizations, which decided to ignore government recommendations designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus epidemic both at the level of formal statements and de facto at the time when the quarantine restrictions were imposed, the Ministry of Health was wary and cautious about this proposed scheme of gradual lifting of the objective restrictions caused by the pandemic.
But there is no way to wait any longer, so the Ministry independently offers logistics on how to return to the normal traditional rhythm of life, restoring the spiritual service of churches and religious organizations and taking maximum care of the health of believers and all other members of society.”
Recommendations of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine regarding the stages of lifting the restrictions imposed on religious organizations under quarantine and the gradual resumption of systematic and full liturgical activity.
Following the steps proposed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to lift the quarantine restrictions imposed on the country to combat the coronavirus epidemic, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine offers the following algorithm for the gradual resumption of systematic and full liturgical activity of religious organizations.
- The opening of churches for individual attendance by believers and private prayers (but not at the time of traditional services by clergy representatives: without the presence of believers and with the participation of no more than 10 people), with the observance of all rules of behavior in public places during quarantine, may be possible if for 10 consecutive days the percentage of detected cases among all tested persons decreases daily, and the daily number of people who have recovered remains unchanged or increases.
- Conducting services in the presence of a limited number of believers in a Church (prayer house) in compliance with all the quarantine rules, in particular with the use of PPE and physical distance between those present, might be possible when during 10 consecutive days the number of new unrelated cases of disease per day is less than 5 per region.
- The conduct of normal services involving a significant number of believers in traditional ritual and ceremonial actions, such as mass communion, with the observance of personal hygiene standards by clergy and believers, in particular with the use of PPE, might be possible when only isolated cases of COVID-19 infection, which are associated exclusively with the transfer of the disease, are recorded in Ukraine.
It is important to note that at all the above-mentioned stages of getting out of quarantine, clergy and believers present at the services must adhere to all appropriate preventive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the territory of Ukraine, based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and WHO.