Catholic, Protestant churches won't check Covid access passes
Attendees of services of the Roman Catholic Church (RKK) and Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) will not have to show a coronavirus access pass from Saturday, when the new coronavirus rules come into effect. According to the Protestants, this is because it "doesn't suit church gatherings", and according to the Catholics, "because it doesn't fit the character of the Church", both church communities said in statements on Tuesday.
When attending church, no distinction will be made between people who have or have not been vaccinated, bishops of the RKK said. Though they did call on ministers, volunteers and other believers to get vaccinated. "We do not want to demand or enforce that, but we do want to, like Pope Francis, make an urgent appeal. The Pope calls vaccination an act of love: for yourself, for our families and friends and for all peoples."
Both churches also scrapped the 1.5 meters rule at church. It is pointed out, however, that sufficient ventilation must then be provided and the advice remains to keep an "appropriate distance".
The PKN called on attendees to take into account people with vulnerable health or people who do not feel safe. Church congregations "may consider reserving a section for people who would like to keep 1.5 meters apart", the church said.
The RKK reported that singing in the church is allowed again from Saturday. But then, among other things, at a distance of 1.5 meters and in zigzag formation. It is also allowed to hand out communion again, provided that it was cleaned before hand. Placing it on the tongue is not allowed yet.
From this coming Saturday, social distancing will no longer apply in the Netherlands, but people must show a coronavirus access pass if they want to go to a restaurant or cinema, for example.
Reporting by ANP