2020-04-16 13:23:00

Georgia decides not to close churches for Easter

Tbilisi, April 16, Interfax - Churches in Georgia will not be closed on Easter, but all necessary security measures will be taken, the Georgian government said.

"We are actively in touch with the patriarchate and the patriarch. We have made a decision that the law will not be violated, churches will not be closed, and social distancing will be observed to protect the lives and health of our citizens," Irakly Chikovani, press secretary for the Georgian prime minister, said at a press briefing on Wednesday evening.

All security requirements established by the Georgian Health Ministry and the Center for Disease Control will be observed in accordance with a decision made jointly with the patriarchate, Chikovani said.

People in large churches are required to observe a distance of at least two meters between each other, and in small churches, services will be held without a congregation and will only be attended by clergymen, he said.

Police will be present in front of all churches to monitor compliance with curfew and social distancing, Chikovani said.

A decision has been made that worshippers who wish to stay overnight in churches on Easter evening will arrive at the churches before curfew, that is, before 9:00 p.m., and will leave after 6:00 a.m., when curfew ends, Andria Dzhagmaidze, head of the public relations service for the Georgian Patriarchate, told reporters.

Churches will observe all directives issued by state and healthcare authorities, Dzhagmaidze said.

A total of 306 cases of Covid-19 have now been confirmed in Georgia. Three people have died in the country, and another nine citizens of Georgia have died of coronavirus abroad.