Religious leaders differ on mask mandate protocols

Victoria Lucas  8 hrs ago

As restrictions across the country and Commonwealth begin to be eased, some religious leaders are not sure they are ready to follow all of the new guidelines.

a clock tower in front of a building© Provided by WPMT Harrisburg

In regard to the recent eased guidelines on mask mandates, Jenn Ross, president, and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg says the safety of all community members is their utmost priority.

“We’re finding out what’s the safest thing moving forward that’s also respectful of the efforts that people have made to be vaccinated,” she said.

For this reason, those who attend synagogues and the Jewish Community Center in the area will still be required to wear masks.

“We’ll have some programming both on zoom and also in-person,” said Ross, “we know a lot of people who have been vaccinated but still don’t want to be indoors.”

The community will wait to hear from their personal medical advisors to decide what is the best option moving forward.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has also decided to continue to keep the mask mandate as they adhere to their spiritual leader Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

“We believe that listening to the authorities, of course listening to the guidance of our spiritual leader, globally, and nationally-all the executive leaders that we have has been helping us a lot,” said Abdullah Dibba, Imam for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community serving the Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley Chapters.

Dibba says the Muslim community has been taking the pandemic very seriously. 

While they adhere to the CDC and respective state guidelines, they also take an extra step in ensuring safety.

If the positivity rate is over 10% in a given building, it will shut down.

Dibba says this protocol has kept COVID-19 cases low.

“The rate has been really low, we have barely had any positive cases, in Harrisburg,” he said.

As both Jewish and Muslim communities continue to instill the mask requirement, the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg has decided to follow the CDC’s recent guideline by allowing parishioners to now attend mass without a mask if they are fully vaccinated. 

In a press release, the diocese states in part:

“All fully vaccinated parishioners no longer need to wear masks when attending Mass. This move comes after the state of Pennsylvania immediately adopted the recent recommendations from the CDC regarding fully vaccinated people.”

The diocese’s bishop is encouraging those who are in good health to return to mass.

The diocese has also said it will use the honor system in regard to those who are fully vaccinated.

Therefore, parishioners will not need to show proof of vaccination.

source Religious leaders differ on mask mandate protocols (

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