Churches across Germany are holding services for the first time in six weeks as the country begins to ease coronavirus restrictions. Members of the congregation must wear masks, stay apart and no singing is permitted.
Many German churches reopened on Sunday morning after most remained closed for more than a month in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Worshippers will have to wear masks, respect social distancing, and no singing will be allowed amid fears that it spreads the virus more easily.
Cologne Cathedral, Europe’s largest church and Germany’s most visited landmark, has planned a special ceremony for friends of the church. Workers, choir members, lay readers and altar boys were invited to a ceremony of only 122 people in the enormous medieval cathedral which normally received 20,000 visitors a day.
As well as extra hygiene requirements, people must abide by the social distancing regulations that require members of the congregation to sit in designated seats 1.5 meters apart. All physical contact is forbidden, doing away with the traditional “well-wishing” handshake that makes up part of the Catholic ceremony.
To receive communion, floor markings have been laid out to avoid people coming too close to each other.
From Wednesday onward, Cologne Cathedral will hold public services once more, but the number of congregation members will remain at 122.