PROVIDENCE — Due to improving public health conditions in Rhode Island, with a decrease in reported positive COVID-19 infections — and after a request from the Diocese of Providence — churches in the Ocean State have been allowed to fill to 40 percent of their capacity, up from 25 percent, with a maximum of 125 people, as of Feb. 12.
Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor announced the changes in the allowed social gathering size in a Feb. 11 press conference. Pryor also noted that exceptions could be made for larger churches that can ensure six-foot spacing guidelines while accommodating groups greater than the present cap of 125 people.
Msgr. Albert A. Kenney, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, said the diocese is pleased with the allowed increase in capacity given improvements in recent COVID-19 health data.
“Given this data, we requested the State reconsider the current percentage cap on houses of worship, previously set at 25% or 125 persons maximum,” Msgr. Kenney said.
“The State agreed that the situation in which we find ourselves is markedly different from a few months ago. Positive data suggests that the safety mechanisms to reduce transmission of disease are working, especially in our churches, which we believe are safe. For Catholics, receiving the Eucharist is central to our faith.”