Churches recommend face masks at services

(Photo: Unsplash/Aaron Burden)

Churches in Ireland are asking people who attend services in person to wear face masks.

In a joint statement, they say that although there is no official mandate to wear face masks on the island, churches have a "responsibility" to make services "safe places" for all who attend. 

Face masks are "one way" churches can help to make their services as safe as possible for worshippers, the statement says. 

The Churches "formally" recommend the use of face coverings at all worship services as well as physical distancing of 2m. 

They recognise that some people may be "exempted" from using face coverings, and that for others "it may not be appropriate", like those leading worship or the pastor preaching the sermon. 

"It has become increasingly clear that the wearing of face coverings, in conjunction with hand washing etc., is likely to reduce the spread of coronavirus, thus helping to protect others," the statement says. 

"Their use is therefore one way in which we can evidence protection for the most vulnerable, support for our health workers, and practical love for our neighbours."

The statement was signed by representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and Methodist Church in Ireland.