BROCKTON, Mass. — As Massachusetts is slowly reopening, Governor Charlie Baker allowed churches as part of Phase 1. In hard-hit cities, pastors are laying down the ground rules this Memorial Day Weekend.
Boston 25 News Reporter Malini Basu spoke with a church leader who is opening church doors on Sunday. The concern for city leaders, Brockton has one of the highest infection and death rates in the state.
“If you want to go to church, you want to physically go, you have to take every precaution,” said Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan.
Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan sending out the message loud and clear, as some churches across the city are getting ready to reopen for Sunday service.
“No one is going to be made a hero for coming, and no one is going to be dismissed because they don’t,” said Dr. R. Steve Warner.
After two months of stopping church services, lead pastor Dr. R. Steve Warner from Brockton Assembly of God on Warren Avenue will be opening up the church doors at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.
“We call this a soft start. We can have up to 40% of our capacity. We are more down to like 110, we will have two services,” said Warner.
The church pews are blocked off for social distancing, hoping the people will abide by the rules. Warner says after each 50-minute service they will sanitize the church. The second service starts at 11 a.m.
“Very precise, we start and end on time. we have a crew coming in to clean the church between the services,” said Warner.
Brockton has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, as there are many essential workers living in tight corridors. There have been more than 3,800 positive cases and up to 230 deaths in the city.
“There are some who are getting stir crazy, they want to be able to socialize and all that,” said Pastor Mark Oliver, from Trinity Baptist Church.
For other church leaders, they are not going to open up this Sunday.
“We are working on our protocol, and making sure we do it all right,” said Oliver.
“The Arch Diocese decided that they can open this weekend, but we are not as we are going to make sure that people are safe,” said Moises Rodrigues, of Brockton City Council.
For Sunday’s service at Brockton Assembly of God, it will work on a first-come, first-served basis. They are expecting up to 100 people for each service, and that everyone will come in good health. They will not be checking people’s temperature at the door.
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