Archdiocese of Miami requiring masks for churches, schools

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Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 7:30 AM EST
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MIAMI (AP) — The Archdiocese of Miami is requiring masks again for anyone attending Mass or Catholic school as COVID-19 infections spike across South Florida.

An archdiocese statement says the mask requirement affects all Masses and church gatherings across its 109 parishes. A similar requirement was reimposed for students and staff at Catholic schools in South Florida on Jan. 1, before classes resumed following the holidays.

“We need to be cautious and we need to be proactive,” Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese, told the Miami Herald. “We believe that wearing a mask and social distancing can help prevent the spread.”

Archbishop Thomas Wenski had lifted the mask requirement for fully vaccinated parishioners in November as coronavirus caseloads dropped significantly following a summer wave caused by the delta variant of COVID-19.

Wenski urged priests to have masks available at the doors to every church.

All congregations across the region are still livestreaming Mass for anyone who can’t go in person.

The Archdiocese said students must wear masks regardless of vaccination status or parental opt-out through the end of January. Students attending religious education classes are also required to wear masks and practice social distancing.

The omicron variant has swept across Florida, with the state reporting nearly 60,000 new infections since mid-December to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The positivity rate for Miami-Dade County was nearly 28%, with cases increasing by 354% from the previous seven days; for Broward, the positivity rate sat at nearly 30%, with cases increasing by 400%; and for Monroe it was nearly 23%, with a 250% increase in cases.

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