Archdiocese of San Antonio extends coronavirus cautionary measures until May 18

Megan Armstrong San Antonio News

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller announced Thursday that the archdiocese’s churches will continue to practice social distancing and limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer until May 18.

García-Siller said in a Facebook post that the extension comes after new computer data from health authorities and civic officials indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic is most likely to reach its peak in San Antonio from late April to mid-May. A team at the University of Texas at San Antonio projected about 3,600 total cases of the virus in Bexar County through July.

READ MORE: The latest news and features about coronavirus in San Antonio

Public celebration of Mass is also suspended and priests are encouraged to livestream, or use other media, to reach out to the their congregation, García-Siller said in the post.

“I know the faithful are most eager to move forward and prepare for next steps, to move past this period of isolation and closure,” he wrote. “It is most difficult, but by following these common-sense directives we are adhering to sound medical advice given to us by experts.”

García-Siller said he will indicate if an earlier opening date might be possible if circumstances dictate that the health situation will improve between now and mid-May.

Gov. Greg Abbott is allowing Texas churches that can’t broadcast remotely to hold in-person services as long as they follow federal health guidelines and aren’t located near significant community spread of the virus.

Priscilla Aguirre is a general assignment reporter for | [email protected] | @CillaAguirre