CNA Staff, May 23, 2020 / 13:04 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is reopening this weekend, after being closed in late March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement from the Custodians of the Holy Sepulchre announced that the site would be open to pilgrims beginning May 24.
“For safety reasons and in order to avoid the risk of a new spread of the COVID-19 infection, at the beginning the number will be limited (to 50 persons) and the Basilica will be accessible only to those who have no fever or symptoms of infection and are wearing suitable face coverings,” they said.
“It will also be necessary to keep a minimal distance of 2 meters between each person and to avoid any act of devotion that might include physical contact such as touching and kissing the stones, icons, vestments and the personnel in the Basilica; as well as abide always by the given instructions.”
The church building, which houses the tomb of Christ and the site of the crucifixion, was first closed to pilgrims and other visitors on Wednesday, March 25. Initially, the closure was only expected to last for one week, but religious and Israeli government officials agreed that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the global pilgrimage destination should remain closed.