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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

In-Person Catholic Mass To Resume Locally Later This Month

Mark Heyne

As businesses start to reopen, the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati has released guidelines for the resumption of public masses. In a letter, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr says masses will resume May 25.

Schnurr says it won't be a return to normal, because there will be masks and social distancing. He says those who worry about public gatherings will still receive a dispensation and should not feel obligated to attend Sunday mass in person.

"Those who are elderly or vulnerable should continue to stay at home, mindful of the dispensation from the Sunday obligation. Parishes are asked to try to find ways to safely bring Holy Communion to shut-ins. People who are fearful that they may be putting their health, or the health of their family, at risk should likewise continue to remain at home," he says.

The letter says priests, parish staff, and volunteers will be setting up each particular church to observe public health guidelines, and asks that people be respectful.

"These past weeks and months have been very difficult, but I am grateful to our priests, deacons, and lay leaders who continued to show genuine pastoral care for our people by staying in contact with parishioners in very creative ways," Schnurr says. "Many parishes live streamed mass, connected with parishioners through phone calls, opened their churches for private devotions, offered spiritual reflections in online videos, etc.  I am deeply, deeply grateful to all who have taken these initiatives."

Parishes have been asked to hold a mass every day of the week, to help with distancing. He says the decision comes after consultation with the Bishops of Ohio.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.