Delaware churches prepare to reopen, with restrictions, after Governor Carney gives the green light
DELAWARE – As restrictions loom amid the Coronavirus, some churches in Delaware are breathing a sigh of relief, after Governor John Carney announced on Monday that they could begin hosting in-person services again, with some restrictions.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction, I think as Christians, as Americans, as Delawareans, we should have the right to be able to decide whether we want to put ourselves back into the community and go back to church and go back to worship,” Pastor Andy Ehlers, of High Tide Church, said.
Now, Pastor Ehlers is preparing to welcome everyone back.
“What we’re doing is making sure we have all the supplies that we need, we’re going to have masks for all of our volunteers, we’ll have masks for people in case they forget theirs when they come to church,” he said.
The restrictions include limiting attendance to 30% occupancy, a requirement that all churchgoers 13-years and older wear a face covering, and guidance on who should not attend, including those 65-years and older.
Pastor Ehlers says they’re prepared to make changes that make things safer for churchgoers and satisfy the requirements set forth by the governor.
“Things that we’re used to doing, like passing an offering plate, we’ll no longer do, we’ll set up like a box and have a place where people can simply drop off their offering,” Pastor Ehlers said.
But other pastors aren’t as optimistic, and say the restrictions in place make it nearly impossible to worship the way they want to.
“It seems like the governor was trying to throw us a bone and say okay, we’re going to let you open, but the requirements to open are so Draconian that most churches are never going to be able to meet them,” Pastor Bruce Rogers, of Long Neck United Methodist Church said.
Now, they’re asking the Governor to take another look at his recent order and give churchgoers more flexibility.
“I think what the governor needs to do is he needs to trust the people to do what the people can do, and that is to care for themselves,” Pastor Rogers said.
Governor Carney’s order also requires that service times be staggered so that the space can be cleaned in between services. Baptisms, weddings, and funerals are also permitted if they can abide by the restrictions set forth in the order.