Houses of worship taking precautionary methods because of COVID-19

Updated: Mar. 5, 2020 at 10:20 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - There are 69 people in the Sunshine State waiting for their Coronavirus test results. More than 200 people are being monitored and many people across the Suncoast are taking precautions.

That includes local houses of worship.

Whether it’s hand sanitizer stations or implementing new greeting guidelines, houses of worship like First Sarasota Baptist Church are doing their part to prevent people from spreading germs.

“We’re just not making any physical contact like a handshake or a hug. We’re doing some fun things and we kind of believe here that if life throws you lemons we’re not just going to make lemonade, we’re going to make sweet lemonade," said Pastor William Hild.

The Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida is also taking a proactive approach. They’re asking people to not have physical contact at services, especially during the passing of the Peace. They are asking people to slightly bow, elbow pump or fist bump.

The same holds true for the Catholic church. The Venice Diocese says they issued recommendations to Priests and local Parishes to empty Holy Water fonts and frequently clean commonly touched surfaces.

Local Rabbis like the one at Temple Emanu-El say aside from cleaning and no contact among congregants... they have changed the way they conduct their after service meal. They say there won’t be self-service on the food line in order to minimize the potential of spreading germs.

Many houses of worship are taking a proactive approach to assure everyone who attends feels comfortable and safe.

“I’ve always believed that we fear what we don’t understand. So, we believe the greatest offset to fear is in information. We’re trying to communicate as much as we can about the reality of this virus,” said Hild.

And as the weekend worship services approach, religious leaders say it’s business as usual but with a little extra precaution to keep the faithful healthy.