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Boston Archdiocese's New Mask Mandate For Masses Around Christmas Season Is In Effect

BOSTON (CBS) -- A new mask mandate for Catholic churches in the Boston-area during the holiday season is now officially in effect.

Last week, the Boston Archdiocese announced the new mandates.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley is requiring that everyone wear masks if they are attending Archdiocese Masses, as well as wedding and funerals. The new rules started Saturday and they will last through through Jan. 17.

"Mass celebrants, deacons, readers, servers, choir members, and instrumentalists, should all wear masks except when they are speaking," the Archdiocese said in a statement on Dec. 9.

The rules do not apply to children under the age of 5.

Churches must also offer areas where social distancing is possible for those who want it.

The Archdiocese said the mandate is being implemented "in the light of spiking numbers of new COVID cases and the likely increase in those numbers in the upcoming holiday season."

On Friday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 6,300 new COVID-19 cases and 45 additional deaths. It is the most new cases reported in a single day since January and the most COVID-related deaths reported in a single day since March.

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