Delaware churches allowed to partially reopen with some restrictions

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Delaware Governor John Carney issued new guidance on Monday for churches and other houses of worship.

The changes allow houses of worship to now conduct in-person services, but there are some restrictions.

Gatherings must be limited to 30 percent of stated fire code occupancy and strict social distancing must be maintained.

"Thirty percent I think is good. I just kind of err on the side of caution," said Bishop George E. Gibson II of the Love Nation Church in Wilmington.

The bishop, like others in Delaware, has been having a lot of conversations about when and how to reopen since Carney's announcement.

Carney also says high-risk Delawareans, including those over 65-years-old, and anyone who is sick should not attend in-person services. Anyone 13-years-old or older must wear a face covering. Children 2-years-old and younger should not wear a face-covering due to risk of suffocation.

Gibson says he has worshippers who travel from all three states and there is a lot they have to think about before reopening their doors to worshippers.

"A whole lot of questions because that's why you have to do it in phases. So if you do it one way, do you have to do multiple services, so that in turn we could accommodate everyone," he said.

He believes it may take two weeks to formulate a plan that meets all the objectives.

"Making sure that we have strategic planning so that we can accommodate the people, but above and beyond everything else, to keep the people safe," said Gibson.

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington says they still need some questions answered from the governor's office before they make any announcements on when they will reopen churches.

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