phase 3 reopening

Phase 3: Places of Worship Now Able to Host In-Person Services at 50% Capacity

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Places of worship are now able to host in-person services at 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 200 people under the state's phase 3 reopening plan.

On Thursday, religious groups were allowed to start hosting larger gatherings in the state. Congregations are required to maintain social distancing and wear masks when inside of the church.

It's the first time in months that some faith leaders have the option to allow parts of their congregation to return.

Trevor Beauford is the pastor at Union Baptist Church of Hartford and is deciding to keep the church's capacity limit lower than what the state is allowing. Pastor Beauford also said that he's glad to have part of his congregation back in the sanctuary, but is still taking precautions.

"We wanted to make sure that we're able to accommodate both the social distance seating necessary and also be able to make sure we had a little extra spacing from the pulpit," said Pastor Beauford. "We know that so many of our members are in the critical age group where even though they're allowed to come out, it's in the best practices for them to enjoy services from afar if needed," he said.

Across town at Trinity Episcopal Church, the first service of the day welcomed 50 percent of their congregation at the service. Both churches are offering virtual services online for those who don't feel comfortable coming back in person just yet.

On the other hand, some faith leaders are deciding to keep their services virtually due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

"Since I'm a physician and I'm in the hospital frequently, I can actually assess what's going on and make a solid sound decision on how our congregation should move forward," said Dr. Reza Mansoor, the president of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford.

Even with the changes in place, faith leaders say they are focused on keeping their congregation safe in the future.

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