1) On February 25, Santa County informed the US Supreme Court they may lift the gatherings ban, as soon as March 3.
It's likely an attempt to evade the SCOTUS possible ruling in favor of churches in SC County regarding the county's prohibition on religious indoor gatherings in Gateway City Church, et al. v. Gavin Newsom, et al.
(For more details: Supremecourt.gov)
(For SC County's latest announcement: Sccgov.org/sites/covid19)
2) In his February 16 statement, Bishop Oscar Cantú of San Jose points out, "Santa Clara County claims that the U.S. Supreme Court decisions do not apply in Santa Clara County. This County appears to be the only county in the country making this claim.
I am quite concerned about the inequality created by the County’s use of the term “gathering” to artificially distinguish places of worship from other businesses, which are allowed to operate indoors during this pandemic. To be clear, I understand the county public health officials are trying to keep people safe – a tall order, indeed, but they should not be treating retail, shopping malls, and personal services providers more favorably than places of worship when evidence shows the risks are the same when safety protocols are followed. Therefore, the Diocese of San Jose is exploring its legal and administrative options in response to the County’s treatment of places of worship. (For the complete text: Statement by San Jose Bishop)
3) We now have more options for Masses
Anticipating the easing of restrictions in our county (details above), we are preparing for indoor Masses (to be offered as soon as the county gives the green light). At the same time, we continue to offer outdoor & drive-up Masses for those who are not yet ready to join Masses indoors. The Mass schedule is as follows.
-3:00 pm: Outdoor Mass (as usual)
-5:00 pm: Drive-up Mass in the front parking lot (effective this Saturday)
-The 5:00 pm Mass will be live-streamed.
-(When indoor worship is allowed) 9:00 am: Indoor Mass
-11:00 am: Outdoor Mass (as usual).
I believe that, with more vaccinations, the easing of restrictions will likely last, although the LA Times two days ago cautioned us about "California's coronavirus strain looks increasingly dangerous," spreading faster and causing more severe cases.
Let us continue to pray for the safety and well-being of our community and others, and get ready for a new phase.