Local places of worship prepare to implement guidelines as Newsom gives OK to reopen

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Gov. Gavin Newsom gave places of worship the green light to reopen on Monday as long as they follow strict guidelines. In Fresno, some are preparing to implement them while others say it’s too soon to reopen.

Churches and places of worship will have to limit the number of people allowed in to 25% of the building’s capacity or 100 people — whichever one is lower. They also have to get the approval from the county state department.

Jim Franklin, the senior pastor at Cornerstone Church, said he’ll have service in person starting this coming Sunday.

“We have gone through logistically and in our auditorium we’ve separated the seats so that people cannot together unless they are in a family pod,” Franklin said.

Staff will have to be screened for symptoms at the beginning of their shifts and the guidelines suggest they consider eliminating singing and group recitations.

Rabbi Rick Winer with Temple Beth Israel said despite Newsom giving them the OK to reopen, he’s not planning to yet. He said they’ve been able to do services virtually while getting a high attendance.

“It is completely worth it to gather, but health is worth more and we are not compromising our ability to do our religious obligations,” Winer said.

Brad Liebe, the executive pastor at Peoples Church, said he’s now just waiting on the city and county to give him more guidance before setting a date to reopen.

“For us the desire is to be able to open and to reopen safely, not one or the other, it’s both,” Liebe said.

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