Around 10,000 bikers gathered at the Jasna Góra monastery in Częstochowa yesterday to take part in an annual mass to mark the opening of the motorcycling season.
Local police said that they would be reporting the organiser to the sanitary authorities and the prosecutor’s office for potential violations of coronavirus restrictions.
Regarded as Poland’s holiest shrine, Jasna Góra, home to the image of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, is a popular pilgrimage site among Catholics, visited by 4.4 million people in 2019.
The annual bikers’ gathering was taking place for the 18th time, organised by the International Motorcycle Katyń Rally Association. Originally planned to last two days, it was confined to a mass on Sunday as a result of hotels being closed due to current COVID-19 restrictions.
Michał Legan, Jasna Góra’s press spokesman, said that the shrine as well as the organisers had taken safety measures.
We at Jasna Góra made sure that all sanitary restrictions were taken care of. The pilgrims are quite disciplined, we see that they are wearing masks and maintaining social distancing during the holy mass” as well as “using hand disinfection points.”
“Individually people are rather abiding by the rules. Everyone is aware that the situation is difficult.
In a statement, Częstochowa police said that there had been some violations of the rules concerning prevention of the spread of coronavirus, and that evidence collected at the event would be passed on to the prosecutor’s office and sanitary department to assess whether the organiser had broken any laws.
According to the current restrictions in Poland, public gatherings are limited to five people, with a minimum of 100 metres between gatherings. An exception is made for religious gatherings, as long as participants maintain a distance of 1.5 metres and wear a face covering.