HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Houses of worship can reopen their doors as soon as this weekend.
Governor Ned Lamont announced some guidelines on Friday for how clergy can resume in-person services.
Houses of worship are going to have to significantly limit capacity and wait on certain practices that create higher risks of spreading COVID-19, including group singing or chanting.
Even with these guidelines, some are still not ready to reopen.
“We thought this was a time where we could open up the lens just a little bit,” Lamont said.
“We are in some perilous times, doubly so with this pandemic, but also the resurgence of racism,” said Lindsay Curtis, President of the Connecticut State Missionary Baptist Convention.
Many pointed to both stress from the coronavirus pandemic, but also to a Minneapolis Police Officer who killed a handcuffed Black man. The incident has sparked days of riots.
Lamont’s guidelines limit attendance to 25 percent of capacity of 100 people, whichever is less. Outside services can host up to 150 people.
“Do not throw yourself into destruction by your own hands,” said Imam Mihal Khan.
Other guidelines included a halt to choirs or other groups singing or chanting as well as not sharing cups or other items during services. These are guidelines from the CDC.
Even with the changes, some clergy say they aren’t ready to reopen.
“Faith shouldn’t be reckless, and so I want to see these numbers come down a lot more before we reopen our doors,” said Kelcy Steele, Pastor at Varick Memorial AME Zion Church in New Haven.
Lamont also relaxed rules on gatherings by raising the current 5-person limit to 10 for indoors and 25 for outdoors. He said more guidance could come next week on youth sports and recreational activities. Still, he urged people to remain vigilant.
“The virus is not behind us, it’s rearing its ugly head a second time,” Lamont said.
Lamont also made one last plea for people to avoid Connecticut’s two casinos, which are not budging on their plan to reopen on Monday.