Churches adjust to temporary large gathering ban

 Churches make adjustments amid coronavirus concerns.
Churches make adjustments amid coronavirus concerns. (WILX)
Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 6:58 PM EDT
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The executive order signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer Friday cancels all events of more than 250 people.

The order took effect Friday and will remain in place until Sunday, April 5, 2020.

The order also closes all schools starting Monday, March 16.

Certain meetings of more than 250 people will be exempt from this order, such as industrial or manufacturing work, mass transit, and the purchasing of groceries and consumer goods.

Churches are now making adjustments for Sunday services.

Pews across Michigan will be a bit emptier this weekend.

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing says it will follow Governor Whitmer's ban on large gatherings, starting this weekend.

"The bishop is issuing a letter to all Catholics to dispense them from their grave obligation to attend Holy Mass on a Sunday," said Catholic Diocese of Lansing spokesman David Kerr.

Kerr said Mass will still be held for those who want to attend, but people will still notice some changes.

"Certain things will be omitted or changed. No sign of peace by shaking hands, no communion under both kinds," he said.

Kerr said the only thing happening at parishes this week will be mass.

"Any non-liturgical gatherings over 100 [people], although that might change to 250, should be cancelled," said Kerr.

These changes are happening after 16 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Michigan, including one in Ingham County.

The governor is encouraging anyone with a fever, cough and shortness of breath to stay home.

Kerr said the Catholic Church would like to see Parishioners follow that advice.

"Follow that advice so we can do our best, in connection with the wider community, to see-off this threat from coronavirus," said Kerr.

Some churches are cancelling services all together.

Union Missionary Baptist Church cancelled all services.

Mount Hope Church in Delta Township is holding its Sunday services online.

Smaller Bible studies are still being encouraged.

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