NORTH ATTLEBORO – Gov. Charlie Baker’s Monday announcement that houses of worship were included in the first of the four-phases he was implementing to open the state wasn't expected.
Count the clergy among the people surprised by the announcement. Many thought the resumption of traditional church services would come in the second or third phase of the governor's plan.
Houses of worship were able to reopen on Monday, but are limited to a maximum of 40% capacity.
Churches are also encouraged to arrange advance online registration for services, place tape or other visual distancing markings on seating, post a maximum number of persons permitted by row, ventilate enclosed spaces by opening windows and doors, require parishioners to wear masks, arrange for an orderly entering and exiting, provide access to handwashing facilities or alcohol-based hand sanitizers, set up no-touch methods to collect contributions, distribute prepackaged communion or sacraments, and more.
Rev. Rodney Thibeault is the pastor of North Attleboro’s Transfiguration of the Lord Parish made up of the town's Sacred Heart, St. Mark’s and St. Mary’s churches. He told North TV on Wednesday he’s not sure how churches can meet the governor’s recommendations.
Click below to stream Rev. Thibeault’s interview: