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Delaware Prepares to Reopen Churches, With Limits

Delaware's governor still urges houses of worship to carry out virtual services for the time being

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Houses of worship in Delaware can resume in-person services under strict social distancing restrictions, the state's governor said on Monday.

Gov. John Carney said houses of worship can hold a single in-person service a week at 30% of the building's allowable occupancy. Services must be limited to one hour and 6 feet of space must be maintained between people not from the same household. Choirs are not allowed and attendees arrival times must be staggered, the guidelines state.

Delaware's Department of Health also outlined guidelines for distributing food and drink and collecting donations. Baptisms, weddings and funerals are also permitted as long as the same social distancing protocols are followed.

High-risk individuals, like those 65 years of age or older, are encouraged not to attend.

Carney asked that houses of worship continue to use virtual services as an alternative to in-person worship. Drive-in services are also allowed.

Delaware has slowly begun easing restrictions put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. The state now allows curbside pickup of retail goods and beaches are reopening in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Earlier this month, Carney set June 1 as a date to ease additional restrictions giving the state time to expand testing. To date, 7,869 residents were confirmed to have the disease and 297 people have died from COVID-19 complications.

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