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No major changes to church services amid Phase Three

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BATON ROUGE – Starting On Sunday, there are no capacity limits during church services.

This is part of Gov. John Bel Edwards moving the state into Phase Three of reopening, though he does say people still need to socially distance and wear a mask. Some church leaders are taking a more conservative approach in transitioning though.

“I didn't want everything to change all at once,” said Bishop Michael Duca with the Diocese of Baton Rouge. “I wanted us to do this in a measured way so everyone can feel safe, and we can bring everyone along at the same time.”

Bishop Duca is keeping the safety protocols that were set in Phase Two into Phase Three. That includes some capacity restrictions. At St. Joseph Cathedral only 160 people can attend each mass safely with every other pew blocked off.

“As numbers keep coming down, and as more people become vaccinated we’ll move forward,” said Bishop Duca. “Our pastors know what needs to be done. They’re handling it in a very careful way.”

It’s a similar environment inside Bethany Church in Baker.

“We do have social distancing that is taking place, we skip rows and we do have hand sanitation in the lobby,” said Pastor Wayne Brown.

Pastor Brown says they’ll continue to keep the safety measures in place while lifting capacity limits.

“We want to continue to be careful and be safe, but we also want to continue to open our buildings up for those that want to come back, and we're excited that they're back,” said Pastor Brown. “Our goal is for people to come and just enjoy the services."

Bishop Duca says he’ll recommend going back to normal in small increments. The transition, he said, will have no defined moment of ending or beginning.


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