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Catholic churches in Brooklyn and Queens reopen with social-distancing measures


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Catholic churches in Brooklyn and Queens shuttered for months due to the coronavirus outbreak reopened on Tuesday with some changes — including social-distancing signage and mandatory masks.

Worshipers in protective face coverings flocked to pews, at a maximum of 10 at a time, and some were even spotted donning plastic gloves as they prayed.

Diocese of Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio gave his blessing for churches, closed since March 20, to open for private prayer and devotion, with 6-feet social-distancing regulations being maintained.

DiMarzio also granted permission to start holding funerals, baptisms and weddings, also with a strict maximum of 10 people and mandatory masks. Mass is still being streamed online.

At least two houses of worship, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Kensington and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sunset Park, plastered bright yellow police-style “CAUTION” tape to keep people a safe distance apart.

“I know it may look like a crime scene, or a construction site . . . but, it is a sign that light is at the end of the tunnel!” Immaculate Heart of Mary wrote on Facebook, announcing it will now be open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for private prayer.

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Numerous yellow warnings also reminded parishioners to “maintain social distancing” of at least 6 feet.

“Social Distancing is a MUST!” the church stressed on Facebook, outlining other rules including “sanitize your hands frequently” and “No Touching the Statues!”

At Our Lady of Perpetual Help, at least a dozen worshipers cycled through in just 30 minutes between 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., with a staffer escorting people to specific seats a safe distance apart.

Another church, Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights, used more subdued signs to

split up seating areas, including for families, couples and those coming to pray on their own. They also tacked on blue tape to pews to the mark 6-feet distance.

The precautions are being taken “to provide atmosphere that everyone can feel safe coming to church,” said Msgr. Kieran Harrington, the rector at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph.

“Some people will be scared, and we want to let them see that the church is a place where you can feel safe to come and to pray and to be with others,” he told The Post.

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