Lynchburg houses of worship keep some COVID-19 guidelines as Virginia lifts restrictions

Changes expected at houses of worship
Changes expected at houses of worship

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The news about loosening COVID-19 restrictions is lifting spirits like Chuck Carter who attended St. Thomas More Catholic Church Friday.

“It’s so good to be back in a parish with the rest of the people. We enjoy seeing old friends, whom we hadn’t seen many in almost a year,” said Carter.

But some houses of worship aren’t lifting their guidelines just yet.

“We are taking some precautions. It’s not simply rushing into everything that’s possible,” said Monsignor Michael McCarron, the church’s pastor.

The church will no longer assign seats, and it removed social distancing tape on the floor. However, the congregation is still asking people to keep their space, and for those who need to wear masks to keep doing so.

The church continues to have sanitizing stations and spray disinfectant between services, while still streaming their masses online.

“We realized that [the livestream is] not just going here, it’s going all over the country. The people who are watching our mass online are some of our parishioners,” said McCarron.

They’ll also continue to stream services at Peakland Baptist Church.

Reverend Doctor Martha Kearse said activities, like prayer groups and scripture study, won’t need masks.

“Small groups, where everybody’s vaccinated, can meet without masks; but because worship is public, we’re going to continue to wear masks because we’re aware that that keeps the most people safe,” said Kearse.

They, too, are asking people to maintain social distancing, as there are still cases of COVID-19.

“Come when you feel safe, and we’re going to do our best to make you safe,” said Kearse.

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