The Peterskirche was renovated earlier than the reopening

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Before the eventual reopening for the public, St. Peter's Basilica is cleaned and refurbished on the instructions of the health and hygiene department of the Vatican.

Public fairs will resume throughout Italy from May 18 under strict conditions.

After the Vatican Basilica has been closed to visitors and pilgrims for more than two months, it is preparing to reopen with enhanced health measures, although the exact date has not yet been released.

The sanitary procedure on Friday started with a thorough cleaning with soap and water and was continued with the disinfection, according to Andrea Arcangeli, Vice Director of the Health and Hygiene Office of the State of Vatican City.

According to Arcangeli, employees disinfect "the sidewalks, the altars, the sacristy, the stairs, practically all surfaces" and make sure that no works of art from the basilica are damaged.

One of the additional health protocols that St. Peter's Basilica could adopt as a precaution against coronavirus spread is to check visitor temperatures, the Holy See press office said on May 14.

Representatives of the four great Roman basilicas – St. Peter, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and St. Paul outside the walls – met on May 14 under the auspices of the State Secretariat of the Vatican to discuss these and other possible measures .

Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, told CNA that any papal basilica would take measures that reflect its “specific characteristics”.

He said: "In particular for St. Peter's Church, the Vatican gendarmerie will work in close cooperation with the public security regulator to restrict access and facilitate safe entry with the help of volunteers from the Sovereign Military Order of Malta."

Rome's churches will also be renovated before the public liturgies restart on May 18.

At the request of the Vicariate of Rome, nine teams of hazardous substances specialists were dispatched to disinfect inside and outside Rome's 337 parish churches, according to the Italian daily Avvenire.

The work is being carried out in collaboration with the Italian Army and the Rome Environment Agency.

During public masses, churches in Italy must limit the number of people present – to ensure a distance of one meter – and parishioners must wear face masks. The church must also be cleaned and disinfected between celebrations.

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