Diocese of London church closures extended through June, summer events cancelled

The Roman Catholic Diocese of London has extended its cancellation of religious events and services amid the coronavirus pandemic. File / Global News

The Roman Catholic Diocese of London says churches within southwestern Ontario will remain closed through June and summer events scheduled through Labour Day will be cancelled.

The diocese issued a statement on Tuesday confirming the decision to extend lockdown measures related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Churches closed, masses suspended until May in London, Ont.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro says the diocese is strictly following the direction of the province and local health authorities “as to when the lockdown will be lifted” and added that dioceses across the province are “awaiting guidelines being prepared under the auspices of the bishops of Ontario to safely reopen our churches.”

Once those guidelines are prepared, they will be implemented at a diocese-by-diocese level.

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“We are mindful that preparations for the return to celebrations of the mass and sacraments will take a great deal of organization and work in order to maintain a healthy environment to prevent further spread of the coronavirus,” said Fabbro.

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“In light of the above, our churches will remain closed at least until the end of June. If the government’s emergency orders are lifted sooner, we will adjust accordingly.”

Fabbro said all social and other religious events usually planned for the summer — parish dinners and picnics, yard sales, bazaars and national religious festivals and pilgrimages — will be cancelled until at least Labour Day.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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