Archdiocese of Washington: Mask requirements, capacity limits lifted for Catholic churches

Mask requirements and capacity limits have been lifted for Catholic churches in D.C. and part of Maryland.

Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Washington, which includes churches in D.C. and in Calvert, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland, will no longer require masks beginning Friday at 5 p.m.

There are no capacity limits on the number of people who can attend Mass, the Archdiocese said in a news release.

Masks are still required in Catholic schools and child care facilities.

There are still a number of safety protocols in place, however. Masks must be worn by those distributing Holy Communion. Social distancing should still be practiced, but can be reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet. Churchgoers may resume giving the Sign of Peace during Mass, but should do so with a bow or wave, and not a handshake.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 restrictions ease in the D.C. area and more residents get vaccinated.

These new guidelines apply to funerals and weddings, too.

The Catholic diocese in Arlington, Virginia, has also lifted COVID-19 restrictions for masses and other activities.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Julie Gallagher

Julie Gallagher is a freelance digital writer and editor for She previously covered the 2020 election with CNN and has bylines in The Lily, WIRED, NBC Washington, The Baltimore Sun, Washington City Paper and more.

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