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Some Religious Leaders Urge Caution When Reopening Churches

The Charles Street A.M.E. Church in Dorchester is closed until further notice. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Charles Street A.M.E. Church in Dorchester is closed until further notice. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Even though Gov. Charlie Baker gave houses of worship the green light to resume in-person services as long as protocols designed to stop the transmission of the coronavirus are followed, some religious leaders are urging caution.

“Churches are designed to be places of healing, not sources of sickness,” the Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches and the Rev. Jennie Barrett Siegal, the organization’s president said in a statement Monday. “We receive these new minimum safety standards from the state with much concern for those people most at-risk in our churches and our communities.”

The council is a coalition of 18 Protestant and Orthodox denominations.

“Just because congregations may return to their buildings does not mean they should,” the council said.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced Monday that parishes can resume Mass as of Saturday, but churches are limited to 40% of capacity. Parishioners also must maintain social distancing, wear masks, and avoid physical contact.

People in vulnerable populations, especially the elderly and those with complicating physical conditions, are encouraged to continue watching from home, the church said.

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