SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Gov. Tate Reeves now believes it’s safe for Mississippi churches to reopen, but he wants them to follow a set of guidelines to do it safely. Here are some of them:
- Churches should limit attendance to ensure six feet of separation between families.
- Avoid services that involve passing an offering plate or communion cup.
- Encourage everyone to wear masks.
- Screen church leadership and staff for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Consider holding separate services for the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.
Reeves never ordered Mississippi churches to close, but he did encourage them to.
Of course, every congregation is different, and Reeves doesn’t want any church to rush back if leadership doesn’t feel ready.
He says online services are still a great alternative, and said his family plans to keep worshiping from home.
“I believe in my heart that our church is not a building,” Reeves said. “We can honor our Lord and still keep our neighbors safe. you don’t have to rush back.”
Pastor Kelvin Lake runs Rhema Life Church in Southaven. He says he’s looking forward to opening his doors again but he won’t do it anytime soon. He wants to remain cautious. He says he’s going to wait at least three weeks. In the meantime, he’ll continue online service.
“With everything opening back up I think we’re going to see some level of spike as it relates to confirmed cases in Desoto County and our area,” Pastor Lake said, “And so, we don’t want to be premature. I know everybody is eager to get back in.”