Churches May Start Services Weekend

Churches are to be allowed to hold in-building services, as of Saturday, May 16, under strict conditions, as outlined, by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

For the last several weeks, because of Orders on no more than 10 people gathering and social distancing to fight COVID-19, church services were not being held in buildings though some denominations and congregations held virtual services.

Speaking at a virtual media briefing, Monday, May 11, Mr Holness said the Government did not place any restrictions on the churches.

“The church community voluntarily complied,” he said

Mr Holness said he met with a representative group of Church leaders last week and they agreed that some provision could be made to see that services could be held but under “strict guidelines”

May 17 Churches may resume in a context agreed

* Physical distancing is to apply within the sanctuary or worship space.

*There should be one person per 40 square feet. Mr Holness said this would mean each person would be at least an arms-length away

*Churches are required to do temperature checks on entry of members or visitors

*In the church yard, vestry or wherever in the compound or sanctuary or worship space, social distancing must be practised.

*The gathering rules of no more than ten people in the space apply in all spaces in the church,

*Everyone must wear a mask in the church.

*There must be a programme of sanitization in the space, with sanitizers at the entrance

Mr. Holness encouraged churches to have more than one service to meet the faith-based needs for as many congregants as possible, and not assemble choirs or have peace greetings or hugging.  He said if the conditions are followed during the pilot period of two weeks then decisions would be made to gazette fresh orders.

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