Friday, February 18, 2022
Photo of IC file
Bishop Oscar A. Solis
SALT LAKE CITY — On Feb. 14, Bishop Oscar A. Solis sent a memo lifting protocols requiring the wearing of masks in the Diocese of Salt Lake City. As of February 15, parishes and other Church institutions, with the exception of Catholic schools in Utah, are no longer required to mandate the wearing of masks in public spaces.
However, the Bishop wrote that “a similar lifting of a masking mandate in our Catholic schools will take effect March 1, 2022.”
Although the mask mandate has been lifted, the wearing of masks in large indoor gatherings remains strongly recommended, Bishop Solis wrote. “Considering the elderly, the vulnerable, and those with comorbidity and other underlying health conditions, charity for the common good always comes first, rather than individual liberty.”
Social distancing also continues to be encouraged, and all Catholics and visitors to churches and Catholic institutions are strongly encouraged to be fully immunized, the memo said.
For Ash Wednesday, which this year is March 2, “the faithful who wish to receive ashes as a traditional ritual of Lenten repentance will have the option of receiving them in the traditional way of imposition on the forehead or the tradition oldest of having the ashes sprinkled on top of their heads (thereby avoiding being touched),” the Bishop wrote. “If sprinkling is preferred over touching, simply bow your head forward when receiving the ashes All Ash Ministers are asked to wear masks.
The memo ends with the hope that “as our numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline, we will be able to give our pastors, administrators, directors, and other leaders more autonomy and management of their security protocols”.
The bishop wrote that he would continue to meet regularly with his senior staff and regional deans “to discuss evolving safety protocols for our diocese, review hospitalization rates and overall case counts, and make changes. or adjustments to our protocols as a result.”