BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s been nearly three years since COVID-19 emerged and became a public health emergency around the globe.

Many churches had to close their doors under government orders during the pandemic.

Many churches went to virtual worship services to keep people safe, but some churches are seeing more people return to the house of worship.

Dr. Michael Wesley, the senior pastor of Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, tells CBS 42 News that they have nearly returned to half of pre-pandemic numbers.

In November, they added a second service, both without restrictions.

“We’re probably about half where we were before the pandemic,” Wesley said. “We’re seeing nearly 700 or so people between the two services on Sunday morning, and before the pandemic, we were probably around 1,400.”

Homewood Cumberland Presbyterian Pastor Derek Jacks tells CBS 42 that most of their congregation has returned to their sanctuary.

Jacks says the church had 60 members pre-pandemic, and 40 to 50 have returned.

He says it is good for people to return to the house of worship.

“When we have worship on a Sunday morning, you have people grieving and celebrating, and it allows them to come together,” Jacks said.