INVERCLYDE'S churches will be opening their doors to a 'new normal' this weekend with worshippers effectively having to book tickets to attend services.

Social distancing restrictions and the general layout of buildings mean that congregations of no more than 50 people can gather at any one time.

Roman Catholic parishes around the district are using the Eventbrite website for members of their flock to secure their place at Mass.

Some spaces are being held for people with no internet connection but they will still have to phone their church to make sure of a seat.

Fr. Danny McLoughlin, of St Andrew's Church in Greenock, said: "People will be booking a ticket for Mass.

"We are limited by the two-metre social distancing and the layout of churches.

"For example, St Andrew's is one of the larger churches but we will only be able to accommodate 35 people.

"We're thrilled to be opening but our primary concern is for the health, safety and wellbeing of people who attend.

"We will be maintaining a one-way system and people will sanitise their hands on entering the church, and we expect face coverings to be worn.

"Those attending will be allocated their seat and they will leave from a different access point from which they entered and will sanitise their hands again on exiting."

The first service of the weekend at St Andrew's will be the late Saturday vigil Mass.

Links to the Eventbrite booking system are to be made available on the websites and Facebook pages of the various local parishes.

Fr. McLoughlin said: "We are open for communal services but people can't just turn up at the church as they did before."