EL PASO, Texas -- Bishop Mark Seitz, with the El Paso Catholic Diocese, is authorizing the initial phase of church re-openings within El Paso County starting on Thursday.
Church gatherings will remain limited to less than 10 people, he said.
But churches where disinfection and social distancing guidelines are strictly followed may now open for a time during the day for personal prayer by individuals.
The bishop indicated scheduled times for confession may also be offered, if social distancing is strictly followed.
The bishop also said he hopes this move brings people hope and joy in the community.
A spokesman for the Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee says he believes the move is a step in the right direction, but is concerned about the virus spreading if people gather at church too soon.
"I mean they want to go. They want to be there. They want to experience what it was like before and it’s not going to be like that," said Ruben Escandon Jr. "You have to have the faith and the faith is going to lead you whatever way. Whether you do it at home or you do it an empty church and you can walk in."
Churches in the Diocese will continue to stream masses online with no more than 10 people in attendance, he said.