AUCCRO suggests the government ease quarantine restrictions for religious organizations
Due to overall changes, the All-Ukraine Council of Churches and Religious Organizations submitted proposals to the Cabinet of Ministers on the adaptive application of quarantine restrictions for religious organizations as well.
A letter with proposals was sent to Ukraine's Prime Minister Denis Shmygal on May 7, 2020, according to the Institute of Religious Freedom.
Developments of the AUCCRO consider the generalized experience of gradual lifting of quarantine in several European countries:
We are convinced that the effective work of churches and religious organizations on pastoral care and meeting the religious needs of citizens is extremely important, given the difficult circumstances in which many of our compatriots found themselves in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
We present the full text of the AUCCRO proposals:
of All-Ukraine Council of Churches and Religious Organizations
regarding the adjustable application of quarantine restrictions
1. In religious (worship) buildings or other premises used by religious organizations, it is not prohibited to perform services and religious rites, provided that measures are taken to prevent the accumulation of people – that is, if no more than 1 person is present per 5 square meters of the area of the place of worship or rite (except for members of the same family) with necessarily dressed personal protective equipment (except for priests, preachers and choristers, for whom this is recommended), in particular, a respirator or protective mask, including those made independently, concerning social distance and processing antiseptic means of surfaces and hands present;
2. Worship and religious rites outside of the religious buildings in the open air are not prohibited, provided that measures are taken to prevent the accumulation of people – that is, per the conditions set out in paragraph 1;
3. Private religious ceremonies and rites are not prohibited in temples, other premises that are used by believers, as well as in the open air, provided that the measures set out in paragraph 1 are taken;
4. The requirement of mandatory self-isolation for persons who have reached the age of 60 should not apply to clergy and persons involved in the organization of services, as well as to other working persons of retirement age, for whom it is a recommendation;
5. Ensure that the religious needs of persons in social care establishments and institutions providing palliative care can be met, including by providing access to them for priests wearing personal protective equipment, in particular, a respirator or protective mask, including self-made ones, or through organizing individual remote meetings with them via video communication.