Diocese of Rockford Moves to Phase 5
June 17, 2021
DIOCESE—On June 10, priests of the Rockford Diocese were informed that, effective on June 11, Illinois has moved Phase 5 in its protocols in helping to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As the state moves forward the Diocese of Rockford issued the following guidance to be in effect beginning on that date:
Masks and social distancing
Fully vaccinated laity, clergy, and religious are not required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors except where required by federal, state, local, or business establishments’ laws, rules and regulations. Please note that no one is to be asked about their vaccination status or to document that status. The cooperation and good will of all is presumed in this matter.
Pursuant to the Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC guidance, masks are still required to be worn by all people while inside a day care facility, correctional facility, veterans’ home, long-term care facility, group home, and residential facility; in healthcare settings; and on public transportation.
Specific rules apply to employees, children, and visitors at the St. Elizabeth Catholic Community Center youth building, issued by DCFS on June 2, 2021. Find them at https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/brighterfutures/healthy/Documents/Day_Care_Guidance.pdf
Any restrictions that may from time to time be issued by your city or county should be followed.
All indoor and outdoor sacramental and non-sacramental gatherings and activities may resume at full capacity. This applies to workplaces, meetings, conferences, recreational and social activities, spectator sports events and festivals, youth and young adult ministry activities, religious education gatherings that are not held in an active school building, funeral visitations, activities involving bus transportation and overnights, and the use of parish facilities for wedding receptions or other celebrations or activities.
However, parishes and Diocesan facilities should continue to accommodate those who are not fully vaccinated, and those who may feel more comfortable seated around others who are wearing masks or who wish to social distance. 
Liturgical activities
Holy Communion will remain under one species for the faithful. If inadvertent contact is made when someone is receiving on the tongue, hands should be sanitized before giving Communion to the next person. 
Altar servers may resume. 
The use of holy water fonts may resume. The use of long-handled collection baskets held by ushers may resume. Otherwise, we recommend parishes continue the use of a centrally-located collection basket for envelopes to be deposited. Weekly bulletins may be distributed by ushers. 
Continue to refrain from the Sign of Peace.
Cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing
Rigorous cleaning and disinfecting of our churches and offices has become the rule and, while the state no longer requires a heightened vigilance for sanitary surfaces, the diocesan guidelines have developed into good habits. 
Thus, while heightened cleaning and disinfecting is no longer required, everyone is urged to continue to take advantage of these good habits to clean surfaces regularly as a preventative measure. 
Parishes and schools should continue to make hand sanitizer available for employees, parishioners, and visitors in churches and offices.
Parish and school kitchens may resume operations without restrictions. Food consumption is permitted at all gatherings and activities without restrictions. 
Food may be brought from home for consumption on parish premises or at diocesan facilities such as for bake sales and funeral luncheons.


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