The Archdiocese of Chicago says it's implementing new guidelines for all of its parishes amid growing coronavirus concerns.
Effective immediately, priests, deacons, altar servers and communion ministers must wash their hands prior to Mass, as well as use antibacterial solution before and after distributing communion. In addition, the chalice will not be used for communion.
Churchgoers are being asked to refrain from physical contact with one another during services and to stay home if they are sick or experiencing symptoms.
The announcement comes as the Catholic Church enters a six-week period of religious observance leading up to Easter. During this time, attendance at Mass often increases.
Chicago is not alone in enacting new mass guidelines. Around the U.S. and much of the world, numerous churches and houses of worship are enacting similar service measures in an effort to cut down on the potential spread of the coronavirus.