Local Religious Leaders Stress Importance Of Public Health, Safety Ahead Of Reopening
BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Local religious leaders are trying to figure out how to safely reopen churches, synagogues and mosques, while still working to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Some Catholic churches in Maryland will open their doors this weekend for the first time since March.
Archbishop William Lori said some parishes in Carroll, Washington and Harford counties will reopen under strict guidelines.
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Even though the State said they can be up to half full, Lori said they're being conservative and keeping it to just 30 percent.
"We wanna make sure that people come to church," Lori said. "They're not only going to be safe, but feel safe, so that's why we're going a little bit slow."
Lori said they'll continue to hold virtual services as well.
At First Mount Olive Church in Linthicum Heights, Bishop Oscar Brown said they'll be opening on June 7 and will follow the 50 percent guidelines.
"Certainly, it'll be a first come first serve," Brown said. "But the reality is all persons will not feel comfortable."
While scientists believe singing may spread the coronavirus, Bishop Brown said they will allow it as long as people have their masks on.
"We are going to ensure that persons are signing with their mask on," Brown said.
Howard Libit, with the Baltimore Jewish Council, said synagogues are moving forward very cautiously as well.
"No one's in a rush to reopen indoor services," he said. "For all of them, the highest priority continues to be health of their congregants."
Libit said there's no timeline right now, and many are sticking to online prayer.
"Even as the county reopens, allows some to reopen this weekend, I think everything I've heard is the Rabbis are going to take their time," Libit added.
Local Islamic leaders said that some mosques will begin reopening on Monday with protocols in place.
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.
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