On April 30, the Diocese of Austin, which includes 127 churches across 25 counties in Central Texas, stated in a news release that it notified parishes they may begin holding public celebrations of Mass beginning May 5.
Churches that resume holding Mass must comply with the state's mandatory guidelines for reopening, including the 25% capacity threshold, according to the Diocese of Austin's website.
According to the news release, baptisms, reconciliations and funerals can also resume.
"Based on the latest data and information from government and public health authorities, I am now ready to move forward in reopening our churches for the celebration of the sacraments," Bishop Joe Vásquez wrote in an April 30 letter to parishioners.
The diocese released a set of guidelines for its parishes to follow, which include a number of precautions to make to maintain social distancing and sanitation inside the church.
According to the April 30 news release, parishioners not in the same family or household should maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each other. Furthermore, attendees are encouraged to wear face masks during the liturgy.
The diocese stated that pews and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned between services, and hand sanitizing stations will be placed at church entrances.
According to the diocese’s news release, Vásquez stated Sunday Mass is not an obligation for members who are sick, age 65 or older, have been advised by a health care practitioner not to attend Mass or believe their health and the health of others may be compromised by attending Mass.
The Diocese of Austin stated parishes will continue livestreaming Mass services for parishioners who cannot attend.