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Ohio bishops suspend Masses and liturgies through Holy Week and Easter

"Science has proven that participation in public gatherings significantly increases the risk of contagion."

CLEVELAND — As federal and state officials continue to provide guidance to organizations about how best to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Bishops of Ohio have announced that they are temporarily suspending all publicly celebrated Masses and liturgies through Holy Week and Easter. 

In a letter to parishoners, the Bishops of Ohio wrote, "This decision is not taken lightly and, as your bishops, causes us great sadness. However, after consultation with the governor and health officials we are convinced that this is the most prudent and necessary action. Science has proven that participation in public gatherings significantly increases the risk of contagion. This poses a serious danger to those especially most vulnerable."

The letter closes with this message: "Please join us in praying for all who are suffering from illness or disease of any kind, for all health care workers, and for an easing of the anxiety and tension caused by this situation. Relying on the motherly care of Our Lady, we unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our healing and our hope."

Earlier on Monday, Governor Mike DeWine issued an order to indefinitely close gyms, fitness centers, recreation centers, bowling alleys, indoor water parks, movie theaters, and trampoline parks across the state. 

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Additionally, DeWine has changed the restriction on mass gatherings from 100 people to 50 people. He has also recommended that the state delay in-person voting for Tuesday's Ohio Primary until June 2 and will file a lawsuit in an effort to make it happen. 

As of Monday afternoon, there are 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ohio, including 24 cases in Cuyahoga County. 14 people have been hospitalized.

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