In-person church services to be allowed at 10 pct capacity under toughest virus curbs

김나영 / 2021-07-20 16:47:17
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in-person worships-limited capacity
▲ This March, 31, 2021, file photo shows a Protestant church in Seoul preparing for a limited capacity in-person service. (Yonhap)

in-person worships-limited capacity

In-person church services to be allowed at 10 pct capacity under toughest virus curbs

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- Starting Tuesday, in-person worship services will be allowed at churches in areas under the toughest virus curbs but at a limited capacity of 10 percent or with fewer than 20 attendees, the government said.

The greater Seoul area and the eastern coastal city of Gangneung are currently the only parts of the country under the strictest Level 4 social distancing rules amid recent flare-ups in COVID-19 cases.

Under the decision, churches with no seats can accept one attendee per six square meters to keep two-meter social distancing among people.

However, religious facilities with a record of violating mandatory antivirus measures or being shut down from outbreaks will not be given such permission, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.

Last week a court partially accepted a petition filed by a group of Protestant churches against Seoul's ban on on-site worship services imposed as part of measures to rein in the fourth wave of the pandemic.

The court said in-person worship services should be allowed under cited conditions, considering some small churches' inability to provide contactless services due to lack of materials or personnel.

The court, however, banned churches from holding events other than worship services, including group meals and outdoor ceremonies.

The government and the religious community will further discuss antivirus guidelines for religious facilities if the Level 4 social distancing measures stay in place longer than planned.

The Level 4 rules in the capital area and Gangneung are currently in place until Sunday.

(END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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