New Jefferson Co. face mask ordinance doesn’t apply to places of worship

Churches and masks

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Jefferson County’s new mandatory face covering ordinance is leaving it up to places of worship to decide whether to require masks during services.

Clearbranch United Methodist Church in Trussville has had in-person services for the past two weeks.

Masks aren't necessarily required, but are strongly encouraged.

Lead Pastor Vaughn Stafford said everyone's temperature is checked at the door.

They have a 1,500 seat worship center, but can only have up to 400 people per service.

Pastor Stafford said most everyone wears masks now, but some take them off to sing.

We spoke with Pastor Stafford about how he feels about this new ordinance leaving it up to the churches to decide about masks.

“There’s a part of me that appreciates that. There’s a part of me that sees the danger in that too. One of the hardest things I think we’re all dealing with right now is that it feels like the rules change based on different types of gatherings and different types of situation,” he said. “For gatherings of worship, I would rather be a little tighter and a little more careful at the beginning of how we come back together, so that we can say that we were taking extra precaution.”

Pastor Stafford said, although it's difficult, he's encouraged some of his folks not to come to in-person services, especially people with underlying health issues.

He said their online worship has skyrocketed and they’ll continue providing their services online.

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