By Deborah Castellano Lubov

While the Vatican’s Dicasteries and organisms remain open to “ensure essential services to the universal Church,” they also are in favor of, where possible, working remotely and decentralizing to ensure safety.

The decision was taken today, March 12, 2020, during a meeting with the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Heads of the Roman Curia, given the Coronavirus pandemic, which has greatly affected Italy.

While Italy is ordering the closing of businesses to stem the spread of the virus, and country is on lock down, the Vatican is coordinating the management of the personnel.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin and the different leaders of dicasteries decided that “the Holy See’s activities will continue, while applying all the sanitary norms” required.

Over the weekend, the Vatican took up a series of new rules, which included suspending meetings and events involving care, increasing disinfection of public transportation and common areas, and obliging that individuals disclose if they were in, what had been considered a ‘red zone,’ or had future plans in one.

However, Vatican employees will benefit always from “flexibility mechanisms” on works in progress: taking leave, recovery of supplementary hours and flexibility of timetables to enable parents to be present in their family, as the schools throughout the Italian territory are closed.

At this moment, the directors are proposing office-watch turns and favoring working remotely.

The Vatican statement specifies that it’s about ensuring the “minimum functioning” of the different services. On the other hand, the Vatican Museums, the Post, the pharmacy and the photographic office are closed to the public.

Pope Francis is also maintaining various activities.

The Holy Father celebrated Mass at Saint Martha’s today at 7 am, then, later in the morning, he received some individuals privately.

The Pope’s Angelus and General Audience, are being done privately, but made available via streaming.

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