FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2020
STATEMENT BY BISHOP DIMARZIO ON GOVERNOR CUOMO’S ANNOUNCEMENT IMPACTING CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN HOT SPOT ZONES
Brooklyn – The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, has issued the following statement in response to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement this afternoon that will unfairly impact Mass attendance at churches in Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, which have adhered to all COVID-19 precautions and have proven successful in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus:
“Catholic Churches in Brooklyn and Queens have not had any COVID outbreaks or significant cases since re-opening on July 5th to 25% capacity. We fervently object to being told to further reduce capacity, because we have strictly adhered to COVID-19 protocols, and the safety measures have been working. The safety of parishioners is paramount for the Diocese of Brooklyn, but the religious freedom of our parishioners is being unjustly attacked. The facts show that Catholic Churches in Brooklyn and Queens are safe and have followed all safety guidelines.
Our congregants have fully cooperated with the mask requirement and have been sitting six feet apart with a row in between. Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Brooklyn are regularly sanitized, and hand sanitizers are set up at all entrances. Former New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito guided us on our Reopening Plans and the subsequent safe re-opening of our churches.
It is outrageous that after incurring great expense to implement all the safety protocols, our parishes are being forced to reduce capacity to a maximum of 10 people in the red zone and 25 people in the orange zone. To think that some of our churches have the capacity to hold a thousand people for Mass, a capacity range of 10 to 25 people is disrespectful to Catholics and to the clergy who all have followed the rules and, as such, have prevented a spike in COVID cases within the confines of the hot zones.”