LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The Diocese of Lafayette has announced that it is giving its parishioners permission not to attend Mass after Gov. John Bel Edwards issues a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people earlier today.

Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel said the dispensation will last as long as the governor’s order is in place.

“I highly encourage those who are elderly, sick, experiencing symptoms of illness or who are at high risk of illness to not attend Mass on these weekends,” said Deshotel. “The virus has been contracted with serious issues by those 60 years and older. Those individuals in that age group must take seriously the caution to implement ‘social distancing.'”

Those who choose not to attend weekend Mass can watch a live broadcast on Lafayette’s Acadiana Open Channel (AOC), on the diocesan website or on the website of Saint Pius X Church. Saint Mary Mother of the Church will also broadcast live daily Masses on its website.

Otherwise, Mass schedules are not expected to change at this time, said Deshotel. At this time, the diocese is also asking Catholics to take extra precautions during Mass, if you should choose to attend.