Bishop Mark Seitz “Churches Will Stay Closed Due To Coronavirus”
The statewide stay-at-home order put into place by Governor Greg Abbott will be allowed to expire this week. Restaurants will be able to reopen for indoor seating at 25% capacity, movie theaters can open, but things like gyms, salons, and bars cannot open quite yet. Click here for a full list of things that can and can't open.
Churches are also allowed to open as long as they follow the guideline set out by the governor's order. Churches can open at 25% capacity and follow social distancing and cleaning guidelines, but the El Paso Diocese says they will not be opening the city's Catholic churches.
Bishop Mark Seitz told El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego that he has made the decision to keep the El Paso churches closed. Bishop Seitz told the Samaniego that he is concerned about the COVID-19 numbers in El Paso and is worried about being able to provide a properly disinfected environment in our churches.
I cannot imagine the weight of this decision. Our City and County leaders have the lives of El Pasoans in their hands. I think they were making the right decisions in regards to their stay-at-home order and I think they're trying to do their best in working within the governor's order while still trying to keep us safe.
I would also like to give much respect to Bishop Mark Seitz. The Church relies on people going to Mass and donating money to pay their bills and not opening churches means they are still relying on online donations to maintain their budget. The Bishop's stance is the smart thing to do and as a Catholic who wants to go back to Mass, I can wait until is safe to do so. Thank you, Bishop Seitz, for looking out for your flock and keeping El Paso's churches closed.