Reservations are required to attend Easter services at a Roman Catholic parish in San Francisco. A Methodist church in the Kansas City, Mo., area is limiting attendance to 35% of its normal capacity. And at a church in Pasadena, Calif., the masks are off and the singing has resumed.
With vaccination rates climbing and daily Covid-19 cases down significantly from January highs, many pastors see welcoming back their members this Sunday as symbolic not only of Jesus’ resurrection, but of a return to something resembling normal, one year after the pandemic forced most to shutter just before the holiest day on the Christian calendar
“This Easter is basically ‘Come back to church,’ Easter,” said Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “Let’s do it safely. Let’s come back to hugging and loving and supporting one another.”
But how—and whether—church can be resumed safely remains subject to debate. A Supreme Court ruling in February overturned California’s ban on indoor worship, but left in place restrictions on singing and limits on how many people could be inside at once.
Regulations for houses of worship vary widely from state to state and county to county, and many authorities are reluctant to enforce the rules in place. As a result, churches, like many businesses, have effectively been left to decide for themselves what is safe. A recent increase in Covid infections, which are up 19% over the last two weeks, and recent calls by President Biden and the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow reopenings have only complicated the issue.
Source: WSJ – US News