Connecticut is officially in Phase 3 of its reopening and it's welcome news for many businesses.
Many folks of faith are also pleased. The changes also impact places of worship.
“There’s something great about bringing people together when we can and when we can do it safely,” said Rev. Matthew Gworek, secretary of the Archbishop of Hartford.
In June, Catholics happily came together to pray in Hartford. It was the first in-person mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in months.
Starting October 8, religious groups can host larger gatherings in Connecticut.
“Especially in our bigger churches, this is a huge deal because we can allow a lot more people in,” said Gworek.
Now, folks can gather in their house of worship at no more than 50% of the building’s capacity with a maximum of 200 people, whichever is lower.
Social distancing and masks are a must at services around the state.
“And our people have shown that they want to be there and they want to pray. They want to be together in community, so we’re excited to have them come back in,” said the priest.
Despite this phase of reopening, it doesn’t mean all places of worship will be making changes.
“Since I’m a physician, since I’m in the hospital frequently, I can actually assess what’s going on,” said Dr. Reza Mansoor, who is not only a local cardiologist, but also the president of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford.
With the recent uptick in cases and hospitalizations in our state, he moved prayers at his Berlin mosque outdoors.
He’s keeping it that way for now as an extra precaution and hoping the numbers trend downwards before it gets really cold.
“It rained on Friday in the morning and people were so panicked, ‘Oh my God, you’re not going to have the prayers?’ I’m like one Friday it’s not going to make [a difference]. But we still had the prayers outdoors and people were happy. And despite the floor being a little wet, they were able to pray," he explained.
In the meantime, no matter your faith if you feel sick, stay home as many are looking forward to these expanded services,
“Especially in a time when we’ve been so separated any time we can come together and especially in prayer it’s been really great,” said Gworek.