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Guam governor to allow indoor religious services

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HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Indoor religious services will be allowed, according to a statement from the administration on Wednesday.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, in consultation with the Department of Public Health and Social Services and the Physicians Advisory Group, will authorize the opening of indoor religious services, subject to forthcoming public health guidance, effective Oct. 3, the administration stated. The Archdiocese of Agana was notified days ago.

On Tuesday, the Archdiocese announced that in-church services would resume this weekend. It was followed by a message from the governor saying they aren't yet allowed to resume services indoors just yet.

In Wednesday's statement, the administration reiterates the need to protect the elderly and those whose health conditions makes them more vulnerable than usual to the novel coronavirus.

 

Many of Guam’s Catholics gather at San Juan Bautista Church as the motorcade carrying the statue of Santa Marian Kåmalen makes its visit on May 2, 2020. Churches on Guam will be allowed to resume indoor religious services on Oct. 3, but they must follow strict public health guidelines. The Guam Daily Post  photo

"Unfortunately, contact tracing from March through August indicates that places of worship — not particular to a single denomination — experienced a significant number of Covid clusters," the administration stated. "This is why we took the time to review and strengthen our guidance, which is forthcoming. We understand how urgently people want to return to their places of faith, and we are working to ensure that return is done safely."

The administration said Covid-19 remains a threat with more than 40 fatalities linked to the respiratory illness.

"And if we don’t work to manage this threat responsibly, we risk even more lives and livelihoods," the administration stated. "If you are sick, stay home. We encourage those who are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of Covid-19 to refrain from attendance at indoor religious services."

The administration also ask religious leaders to encourage their employees and congregants to download the Guam Covid Alert smartphone app whenever possible and to maintain social distance.

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