Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that New York officials worked with faith-based groups to try to bring back certain religious services after the pandemic resulted in the shut-down of all social gatherings. Religious institutions weren’t originally supposed to re-open until Phase 4. Drive-in and parking lot services restarted on Thursday along with religious gatherings of up to 10 people.
Yet, as of Sunday, May 24, some churches decided to not open their doors while they try to determine the best ways to re-open based on their unique situations. Although many churches have small congregations, there are also plenty of churches with large ones that could potentially spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus quickly.
As Pastor Ricky Harvey of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church explained to Rochesterfirst.com, his congregation is made up of approximately 600 people: “It has changed from an in-person ministry to a virtual ministry… We couldn’t even begin to think of a 10 person type service. I have more ushers than 10. I have a team of people who are working that have been working on it for a while now and as time permits and when we feel the time is right, we’ll go back into the building.”
He also noted that church services won’t be the same when the building r-opens to the congregation. Instead, he will have staff and volunteers checking temperatures. Congregants will also be required to wear masks and gloves.