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Coronavirus: Mass-goers given different advice over shaking hands

Shaking hands as a sign of peace during Mass is discouraged in some areas during winter to prevent spread of viruses
Seanín Graham

MASS-goers in Down and Connor will continue to shake hands as a 'sign of peace' despite restrictions in other dioceses.

The practice is routinely suspended in some areas during the winter flu period, while it is understood those attending Mass in Clonard in west Belfast have also been discouraged from shaking hands.

Earlier this month the Dublin archdiocese advised worshippers against the traditional way of expressing the sign of peace and instead encouraged them to "make a bow of the head" to the people around them as they say 'peace be with you'.

It said that "during the sign of peace it is fine to simply smile, wave, or bow to others to convey Christ’s peace to them."

Receiving Communion directly on the tongue during the outbreak of flu viruses is also being discouraged in Dublin.

A spokesman for Down and Connor said the diocese will continue to "closely monitor" the situation in relation to the coronavirus outbreak and advised anyone with symptoms to "stay at home".

"Our general advice is to follow good hygiene practices but there is to be no specific change in relation to the sign of peace or receiving communion," he added.

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