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Masses reopen in Milwaukee despite bans of big gatherings

June 1, 2020 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee reopened Mass to the public over the weekend in many city churches, despite an order that still bans gatherings of more than 10 people.

Archbishop Jerome Listeck told the Journal Sentinel said that though much smaller in scale than usual, it gave congregants the ability “to dip their toe in the water.”

The churches are limiting attendance to 25% of capacity.

In response to the pandemic, the City of Milwaukee’s order limiting gatherings to groups of 10 people or fewer remains in effect. The archdiocese has said, though, that it considers religious gatherings to be essential.

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The archdiocese has made several changes to the process of worship to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including limiting singing that may increase the spread of the virus.

Listecki told pastors to reopen their churches only if they believed they could safely accommodate congregants. About 45 parishes have remained closed, including a cluster on Milwaukee’s south side, where coronavirus case numbers have been high.

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