Archbishop Wilton Gregory announced that all Masses in the Archdiocese of Washington will be closed to the public until further notice.
The closures begin on March 14. Masses will be livestreamed at the Archdiocese’s website.
Weddings and funerals will continue, but attendance must be limited to immediate family.
The Archbishop has also ordered all Archdiocese Catholic schools to close between March 16 and 27.
“My number one priority as your Archbishop is to ensure the safety and health of all who attend our Masses, the children in our schools, and those we welcome through our outreach and services,” the Archbishop said in a press release. “Please know that this decision does not come lightly to close our schools or cancel Masses. We are profoundly saddened that we are not able to celebrate our sacraments as a community for the time being but we know Christ remains with us at all times – specifically in times of worry like this.”
The decision comes after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the closure of all Maryland public schools and dictated that no gatherings of over 250 people may be held until further notice. On March 11, the Diocese of Virginia and Washington announced the closure of area Episcopal churches, including the National Cathedral.