France allowing religious services to resume

France allowing religious services to resume

In this April 10, 2020 file photo, a priest carries the processional cross during the Way of the Cross ceremony at the Saint Germain l'Auxerrois church in Paris, on Good Friday. (Credit: Thibault Camus/AP.)

France is allowing religious services to resume starting Saturday after a legal challenge to the government’s ban on such gatherings.

PARIS — France is allowing religious services to resume starting Saturday after a legal challenge to the government’s ban on such gatherings.

Religious leaders welcomed the decision but said it will take time to put the necessary safety measures in place.

To prevent further spread of the virus, visitors to French places of worship must wear masks, wash their hands upon entering, and keep a distance of at least three feet from other people.

The French government had banned religious services until June 2 even though stores and other businesses started reopening last week. The Council of State, the country’s highest administrative body, struck down the ban, and the government published a decree Saturday allowing services to resume.

The French Bishops Conference said it would work with church leaders to prepare for reopening, notably for Pentecost Sunday services May 31.

The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris said that it will not be ready to reopen for services Sunday marking Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

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