At St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the midday mass drew a small congregation of masked and distant worshipers. Joseph Zwilling, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York, said church leaders had worked until Tuesday evening to develop reopening rules that included a return of unmasked choirs, hymns and church bulletins, which were deleted when the pandemic hit. But the changes will ultimately be left to the local priests and bishops.
“Some pastors and choir leaders will ask singers for proof of vaccination, but others can use the honor system,” he said. “It will vary from parish to parish and from choir to choir.”
Some have met the day with unease. Nick Kamoutsas, 42, who operates a food truck that hasn’t been used for a year, returned last week to sell pancakes at a location near Lincoln Center. Most customers place orders without a mask, he said; he didn’t know yet if that felt right to him.
“I’m so confused,” he said. “I don’t want to be afraid, I don’t want to panic, so I try to follow the rules, but at the same time I try to live.”
On Staten Island, funeral homes, banned from allowing large gatherings, have welcomed the return of a day when they could welcome a large grieving family. Michael Lanza, fourth-generation director of Colonial Funeral Home, said sheriff’s assistants and detectives came down last year to investigate whether capacity limits were violated after the funeral of a man who had nine children .