Choirs and vocal ensembles can return to ministry at Mass beginning on the First Sunday of Lent, Feb. 21, Bishop Donald Kettler said in a letter to priests of the diocese Feb. 11.
Accompanying the letter were protocols drafted by the diocesan Office of Worship that these groups must follow for Mass. Among the requirements, the protocols stipulate:
- “A determination must be made for each church as to how many singers can gather while maintaining physical distancing of six feet or more at all times. A distance of 12 feet between singers is recommended when singing indoors.”
- “Singers from one household may stand together, but physical distancing of 6 feet or more must be maintained between households.”
- “Singers may temporarily remove face masks when singing or making announcements.”
- “Choirs and instrumentalists must be separated from the liturgical assembly by 12 feet at all times.”
- “Avoid sharing equipment (i.e. music stands, microphones, percussion, hymnals, folders, etc.) and clean all equipment between uses.”
Congregational singing remains prohibited until further notice, Bishop Kettler said.
These protocols complement an earlier set sent to pastors regarding requirements for choir and vocal ensemble rehearsals, which were allowed to resume Jan. 18.