Hawaii’s governor said effective immediately counties are allowed to reopen medium risk businesses and services, houses of worship fall under this category, and Kauai and Oahu are among the first to allow spiritual gatherings to resume.
Sunday services may resume in some churches this weekend but there are houses of worship that are taking extra time to reopen its doors.
Both of the Kauai Christian Fellowship church campuses will welcome back its members in person this Sunday. The church’s teaching pastor, Rick Bundschuh, said they are moving benches and seating areas to create at least six feet distance in accordance to new CDC guidelines.
Bundschuh said, “We installed special hand sanitizing stations all around and this afternoon a team of guys rearranged the furniture so the seating could be more apt to social distancing.”
He said offering baskets will not be passed down and they are still brainstorming ways to do communion while maintaining physical distance.
The church members are also encouraged to avoid holding hands and are being asked to stay home if they are sick.
“We suspended a few things at least for the time being, we typically have a great coffee cart lots of food and stuff to kind of bait people to hang around and talk story,” Bundschuh said. “Now, we are removing that going, maybe you want to go to the beach after church or something like that.”
But even if religious centers are allowed to reopen, some are waiting.
The pastor at New Hope Oahu said they will reopen next week.
Bishop Larry Silva, said Catholic Churches in Hawaii can also begin holding public worship next weekend.
Under the church guidelines announced by the bishop everyone will wear masks except for the priest or presenting speakers.
There will be a limit to the number of people who can attend mass, while each parish will have a different protocol, and some may issue tickets in advance for the number of spaces available.
Bundschuh said they will increase the number of services to allow people to create social distance.
He said, “We are actually going to do two services, and we’re doing that not so much because we think we are going to pack them out as we might normally but because we want to give enough space for people.”
The Kauai Christian Fellowship will continue with its online services for those who still wish to remain at home.