Churches reopen in Germany – but no singing allowed
Worshippers to follow social distancing and to wear masks
Some German churches have reopened on Sunday after being shut for more than a month because of Covid-19.
Worshippers will have to maintain social distancing and wear masks, according to the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Singing will be forbidden amid concerns that it causes the virus to spread more easily, and physical contact – like the handshakes that take place in Catholic services – will be prohibited.
Cologne Cathedral, one of the world’s largest churches, has held a service for people connected with the church.
The ceremony is limited to 122 people, a restriction which will also apply to public services that begin on Wednesday.
Cologne Cathedral usually has 20,000 visitors coming through its doors each day.
Synagogues will also start to reopen slowly, as will mosques, which will hold their first public prayers since lockdown on 9 May.
Angela Merkel announced last week that religious buildings, museums and playgrounds would be allowed to open.
This followed the reopening of small shops throughout the country.
Ms Merkel said: “We must work to make sure we bring the number of new infections down further.”
“If the infection curve becomes steep again, we need to have a warning system to notice it early and be able to act,” she added.
Karl Justen, a prelate in the German Catholic Church, called the government’s decision to reopen religious buildings a “positive sign” that religious freedom and infection prevention could work in harmony.
Josef Schuster, the president of the German Central Council of Jews, said: “People need stability and trust in their religions, especially in the current situation.”