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COVID-19: NH, Vt. Catholic churches ready to reopen; Vermont courts expand cases for hearings

Published: 5/30/2020 3:42:49 PM
Modified: 5/30/2020 3:42:48 PM
Catholic Churches set to reopen

The Roman Catholic dioceses of Burlington and Manchester both announced on Friday that they would begin celebrating Mass in person this week, following new guidance for houses of worship issued by health officials in both states, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vermont parishes are set to begin reopening to celebrate daily and Sunday Mass on Monday. Parishioners, especially members of groups considered most vulnerable to serious symptoms from COVID-19, are not obligated to attend, the Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop of Burlington, said in a Friday message.

Coyne asked parishioners to stay home if they are sick, wear a mask during Mass, sanitize hands upon entry, sit in designated pews, and respect social distancing.

“While these protocols are intrusive, they are necessary as they allow us to celebrate the Sacraments in person while doing our part to help stop the spread of coronavirus,” Coyne said.

Some parishes in New Hampshire will begin “public celebrations of the Eucharist” next weekend, while others that need more time to prepare will reopen the weekend of June 13 and 14, according to a Friday letter to New Hampshire Catholics from the Rev. Peter A. Libasci, the bishop of Manchester. New Hampshire churches will take steps to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 such as limiting attendance, social distancing and sanitization, Libasci said.

Vermont courts to hear non-emergency cases

On Monday, Vermont courts will begin hearing of non-emergency matters, according to a Friday news release from the Office of the State Court Administrator.

Many hearings will be held remotely via video or telephone. People scheduled for a remote hearing who have questions are asked to call their local court for information.

Those scheduled to attend a hearing in person, should arrive at the court at least 15 minutes early to allow time for screening at the front door. Social distancing restrictions are in place and all visitors are required to wear face coverings.

New London town beaches open to residents

NEW LONDON — Town beaches were set to open this weekend to New London residents only, town officials said in a Friday email notice.

Lifeguards are scheduled to be on duty at New London town beaches from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, but that will be subject to change depending on the weather. Bathrooms will be open during guarded hours. The playground, floating docks and boats are not available, and social distancing is mandatory.

Beach stickers are required, and beach users should check in with an attendant at the entrance. When capacity is reached — 80 people at Bucklin Beach and 75 at Elkins Beach — new arrivals will have to wait for available space before entering.

Group activities are not allowed, but walking, running, swimming, sitting, playing and sunbathing are.

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