Local places of worship adjust to new reopening guidelines

Hampden County

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – As part of phase one of Governor Baker’s reopening plan, houses of worship were allowed to reopen back on May 18 but with restrictions.

Governor Baker announces re-opening plan for Massachusetts, starting with phase one

Some churches such as Bethany Assembly of God in Agawam and multiple churches in the Springfield catholic diocese have started in-person services. On the other hand, multiple western Massachusetts synagogues and the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts are still hosting online services out of an abundance of caution.

“We’ve done online registration,” Stephen Tate, lead pastor at Bethany Assembly of God told 22News. “We’ve implemented all the safety protocols recommended by the guidelines of state that the governor gave.”

“Social distancing, masks, every other pew is blocked off, all of those guidelines are in place, all the sanitation guidelines,” Pastor Tate assured.

Houses of worship are allowed to have services at 40 percent capacity and attendees must wear a mask. Attendees who are not part of the same household must be seated six feet apart from each other as well.

The state is encouraging places of worship to do online sign-up for services in advance in order to monitor and limit the number of attendees. Religious leaders recommend contacting your house of worship before attending services to see what their protocol looks like.

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