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Catholic churches drop mask and social distancing requirements: Decree from Charlotte Diocese

The diocese covers 46 counties in western North Carolina, including the Triad.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Catholic Diocese issued new guidance Friday that its churches may further relax COVID-19 restrictions to near pre-pandemic operations.

The notice was shared in a decree for "returning to normal operations" issued May 14 by Diocese of Charlotte’s vicar general and chancellor, Monsignor Patrick J. Winslow. The diocese covers 46 counties in western North Carolina, including the Triad.

Effective immediately, Catholic churches no longer require social distancing or masks, but those who "remain vulnerable" should continue wearing masks or attending service virtually.

The guidance adds, "The options of receiving Communion from the chalice and extending the Sign of Peace are to remain omitted until further notice. The faithful retain the right to receive Communion on the tongue or in the hand."

The obligation for Catholics to attend Sunday Mass is reinstated May 23, with exceptions for sick or high-risk people.