Easter 2021 at some churches may resemble ‘normal’

CDC says its safe for vaccinated people to gather indoors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For many families, Easter will be the first holiday in a year they will participate in traditional gatherings, including church services.

This holiday weekend could be the first time since the start of the pandemic that churches will be full of worshipers.

“Every Easter we have additional services,” said Tim Staier, lead pastor of Elevate Life Church. “It’s kind of like a family reunion.”

This weekend, his services will be in person.

“You are probably going to see a full room for the first time in a while, and so if you’re not comfortable with that, check out one of those alternate times,” Staier said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fully vaccinated people can safely gather indoors with others. If everyone is vaccinated, masks are not necessary. Those who are not yet fully vaccinated are advised to only gather indoors with those in their own households or gather outside with masks and social distancing.

Mount Bethel Missionary Baptist Church’s services will remain both in-person and online.

“We do virtual, but we do allow constituents to come in,” Pastor Robert E Herring Sr. said.

Parishioners will have their temperature taken upon entering the church. They will also have to wear a mask. Inside the sanctuary, every other pew is blocked off and there are markers on the seats promoting social distancing.

“We have a lot of seniors in our church. We have to be safe and I don’t feel comfortable and my members don’t really feel comfortable to come back to church just yet,” said Herring, who added he will put together a plan in the coming months on when the sanctuary will reopen fully.

St. Pius V Catholic Church will host an Easter vigil at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and two masses on Sunday, one in Spanish.

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