Government announces easing the quarantine restrictions for religious organizations
On Wednesday, May 20, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine plans to introduce several new measures aimed at easing the quarantine. Among other things, the Government intends to regulate the procedure of visiting churches by the faithful.
This was stated by the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal on Tuesday on the TV channel ICTV, according to the Institute for Religious Freedom.
The Prime Minister explained that services in churches for parishioners can be held no more than 1 person per 10 square meters of a religious building, notes the Government portal.
The All-Ukraine Council of Churches and religious organizations believe that the presence of no more than 1 person per 5 sq.m. area of the place of worship or rite will be a sufficient measure to prevent crowding of people. Earlier, the AUCCRO submitted its proposals on the use of adaptive quarantine for religious organizations to the Prime Minister of Ukraine.
In a comment for the IRS, Deputy Chairman of the DECR of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya), commented on the Government's intentions:
"The proportionality of conditions and restrictions must rely on logic to maintain the balance between health protection measures and constitutional rights. We hope that in preparing the next stages of adaptation of the quarantine, the state will be more open to dialogue with the religious community and pay more attention to ensuring the constitutional right to freedom of religion."
In particular, the AUCCRO proposed not to prohibit worship services and religious rites outside religious buildings in the open air, as well as private events (weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc.), provided that measures are taken to prevent crowding of people.
Also, the AUCCRO considers it inappropriate to extend the requirement of mandatory self-isolation for persons who have reached the age of 60 to clergymen and persons involved in the organization of the worship services, as well as to other working persons of retirement age.
"The Churches understand that temples should be non-tiered security zones, so they offer norms and measures that will allow this with the active involvement of a large number of lay people in worship and religious ceremonies, with the observance of justified sanitary regulations,” said the Candidate of Legal Sciences, Fr Oleksa Petriv, Archpriest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.