National Police: Services with respect for quarantine norms are not banned

The police will not close temples or ban services during the quarantine but will monitor compliance with sanitary and epidemiological norms. An illustrative photo: res.cloudinary.com

Temples will not be closed during the quarantine, but from April 6, police will ensure that there are no crowds in their territory.

Head of the National Police of Ukraine Igor Klimenko said that during the coronavirus quarantine, divine services in churches with the observance of all necessary sanitary and quarantine norms and participation of no more than 10 people are not prohibited. He said this during a videoconference with members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO), which was held on April 4, 2020, reports the AUCCRO website.

Klimenko urged the believers to participate in worship services through online broadcasts and recalled that the Cabinet of Ministers’ resolution of April 4 imposes additional restrictions on the movement of citizens, prohibiting groups of more than two people.

"The head of the National Police assured that temples and other places of worship will not be closed, there will be no impediments to hold divine services so that priests and clergy could provide video broadcasts. However, starting from April 6, the police will make sure that there are no crowds in or near churches. According to him, no more than 10 people should be involved in the service, observing a safe distance and using protective equipment (masks, respirators). Officials also called to avoid direct contact between the clergymen and believers and believers among themselves when organizing worship or meeting the religious needs of believers," said the AUCCRO press service.

It is noted that the participants of the videoconference agreed to harmonize clear rules for the organization of religious holidays in April 2020 in order to ensure sanitary requirements and protect believers from the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The head of the Synodal Legal Department of the UOC, Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, summarized the results of the AUCCRO talks with the leadership of the National Police.

«1. Temples are open! It is necessary to observe sanitary and epidemiological requirements! (Masks, disinfectants, wet cleaning, ventilation, no crowds of people).

2. Divine services are performed in temples, but in closed session, i.e. with the participation of a minimum number of people for a statutory divine service! According to the head of the National Police, this can be no more than 10 people.

3. "Do not gather more than two people" – this refers to moving outside, not the number of people in the temple!

4. Easter! Let’s wait and see, but there is hope!" wrote the priest on his Facebook page.

As reported earlier, the Ukrainian authorities banned divine services involving more than 10 people and announced the project "Easter at Home", calling on believers to participate in worship through online broadcasts.

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