Health Team

NC still recommends churches hold services online, outside as state moves into Phase 3

Posted October 2, 2020 12:00 p.m. EDT
Updated October 2, 2020 2:03 p.m. EDT

Hayes Barton Baptist Church service

— Even though bars, arenas and amusement parks are opening up at reduced capacity this weekend, the state is still recommending that churches hold services online.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that places of worship hold gatherings outside or online even as the state moves into the next phase of reopening.

On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper said that coronavirus cases are stable enough that the state can allow for bars to reopen for outdoor seating. Smaller outdoor arenas can seat up to 100 people, or 30% capacity, whichever is less, but indoor arenas and auditoriums are limited to 25 people.

The state is recommending that, for in-person, indoor worship services, faith leaders cap the service at 100 people, or at 30% capacity, whichever is less.

Church leaders can encourage their congregation to download the SlowCOVIDNC app. The app will notify the user if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus.

The recommendation for churches and places of worship is just that. Cooper’s executive order states that worship and religious or spiritual gatherings are exempt from the requirements of the state’s executive order.

Wedding ceremonies and funerals are also exempt from the requirements of the order.

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