MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) – With new developments of the COVID-19 vaccine and cases declining in the state, churches throughout Central Alabama are hoping that easing restrictions is the right move.
Mountain Brook Baptist Church Pastor Doug Dortch says they have put bands on pews, required masks at times and provided sanitizer to make sure their services are safe for the public. He says the pandemic has been a tough experience for all leaders in ministry.
“It is the hardest challenge I have ever faced in my 43 years of ministry,” Dortch said.
Though it has been a challenge, he says his congregation has been compliant with the guidelines in place. And with the numbers going down, he feels it’s time to ease those restrictions like mask requirements.
“Our people have been so very gracious in their compliance and because of that we haven’t had any outbreaks,” Dortch said.
Some churches like The Worship Center Christian Church are allowing in person congregations again beginning November 7. Stephanie Rayborn with the church says they’ve continually talked with medical experts to ensure a safe return.
“We are taking every precaution that we can and also making sure that their health and wellness is taken into consideration,” Rayborn said.
Experts like Dr. Michael Saag with UAB says while the drop in cases right now is motivating, he says it’s best to take baby steps when it comes to easing restrictions because he doesn’t want another summer spike.
“I’d like to see the numbers come down and stay down for about three to four weeks to make sure we are really out of this,” Dr. Saag said.
But through the pandemic, Pastor Dortch believes churches will always find a way to come together.
“Ways that I think we will be able to continue after the pandemic is long gone. So we pray,” Dortch said.
Pastor Dortch says if cases get bad again, they will put those safety measures back in place.
For more information on the churches reopening plan, click here.