What is physically required for the laity to participate at Mass? If the laity cannot enter the church building, is outdoor Mass required for the laity to be able to participate? If one can follow the liturgy taking place inside the Church (hearing bells, following along over a PA or digital stream), does being outside of the Church suffice? Does live streaming suffice for participating in Mass?
For the sake of this question, I want to lay aside the question of exceptional “mega Masses” as when some Pope or other shows up and people are so far away – including both concelebrants and even ciboria to be consecrated – that, well, who knows what’s happening. Those Masses will be terminated when We have ascended to the Throne of Peter.
Let’s make a distinction. There is participation and there is obligatory participation. Under normal circumstances we are obliged to participate at Holy Mass on Sundays and some other days. Otherwise, we are free to participate or not. During this COVID-1984 thing that’s going on, most bishops (all?) have dispensed people in their dioceses from the obligation to participate on those days when they would otherwise be bound. It is withing their power to do that. It is, in fact, beyond their power to forbid Communion on the tongue, but they are getting away with it. But they can lift the obligation to attend Sundays Masses.
Let’s make another distinction. There is actual, physical presence and there is moral presence. If you are in the church building, and in sight of the physical altar, you are present. If you are near the church building, but because of the crowds (say, for a huge funeral – a normal huge funeral, not necessarily a gargantuan funeral like that of St. John Paul II), or you are in an overflow area and have screens to watch of the video feed of what is going on, or if you have taken precious little Stupor Mundi outside during her sixth melt-down during Mass, you are not physically present but you are morally present. You are there, you would be inside if you could be, you are engaging the best you can in your situation. Contrast that with someone who decides that it is better to go outside and have a cigarette and maybe surf on his smart phone for a while. And contrast that with a surgeon who is on-call, who get’s an call that he has to take, so he goes outside.
So, given the circumstances, what really matters is the person’s intention and effort.