Governor’s guidelines provide path back to in-person church services

While no government order has shut down churches and other places of worship in Mississippi, since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tate Reeves has urged religious leaders to suspend large in-person services. Today, he has released a set of guidelines providing places of worship with a plan for welcoming their members back safely and slowly.

While Governor Reeves released the 8-page set of guidelines, he did state that this does not mean large services should begin just yet. 

“I’ll just say this as a personal point. My family is likely going to continue worshiping from home for a while. The church is not a building. We can honor our Lord and keep our neighbors safe. You don’t need to rush back. We do want to provide a playbook for how to do it safely, when pastors determine the time is right,” said Governor Reeves.

The Governor encouraged religious leaders to wait “at least another week or two” before implementing these guidelines and bringing people back. 

While the full set of guidelines can be viewed, here, several suggestions made by the Governor during his daily press briefing include holding additional services to reduce the number of people in a building at any given time, holding separate services for the elderly and at-risk population, and screening members of your congregation and staff. 

The Governor also mentioned that churches should avoid passing offering plates and other activities that could increase the possible spread of the virus. 

In recent months, drive-up and online services have taken the place of in-person services across the country. 

You can watch the Governor’s full remarks on the guidelines below.