Diocese of Oakland suspends public masses

The Diocese of Oakland announced on Monday that all public masses have been suspended in response to new restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus. 

The announcement came after Alameda County and six other Bay Area counties issued lockdown orders in response to COVID-19.

The Diocese of Oakland said it was acting "In collaboration with local Bay Area officials, and in service to the common good of our communities and our country."

Bishop Michael Barber said he was advising priests in the diocese on what actions to take on the scheduled celebration of sacraments, including baptisms, weddings and funerals.

All other events at parishes and schools will be postponed, rescheduled or canceled until further notice, but churches will remain open "to provide a place of prayer and solace for people," the diocese said in its announcement, and it stressed that proper hygiene and social distancing will be emphasized in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Diocese workers are being told to remain at home and will be compensated as normal, church officials added.

The diocese offered online resources and links to daily masses from other archdiocese.

Bay City News contributed to this report.