NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — Monday, may 4, Governor Asa Hutchinson will announce when churches will open for the public again. Local church leaders said they’re preparing to protect worshippers if they get the green light.
“I’m claiming that this will be the last Sunday that we will have to do this with an empty sanctuary….,” said Lead Pastor Russell Hamby of the Pentecostals of Northwest Arkansas. Letting his congregation know they will be prepared to open services back to the public following Hutchinson’s guidelines.
“We’re looking forward to it, I know our pastor is very excited to try to get our church body back in here,” said Church Administrator Jeremy McCracken. He said they plan two hold two services on Sundays to help people spread out.
“Also potentially sitting people in every other row.”
Elderly people and those with health conditions will be advised to continue watching online until conditions get better. Church staff will direct the flow of traffic inside so people don’t congregate in the lobby.
Masks and gloves will be on hand, and sanitation stations will also be placed throughout the church.
“We have a cleaning crew and we’ve put a plan in place where we will be spraying doors handles and we will be cleaning seats,” said McCraken.
Meanwhile, Senior Pastor Mike Sypult at Friendship Baptist Church in Springdale has been holding drive-thru services for the past few weeks.
“We’re just trying to give people an opportunity to be a little more social without being close,” said Sypult who’s also getting his plans together.
“It’s going to be very important for us to find sanitary wipes and cleaning supplies. It’s kind of hard to find sanitary wipes and things like that right now but we want to get the building ready,” said Sypult.
Even if some restrictions are lifted, McCracken said it will take some time for church services to get back to normal.
“We are obviously going to be thoughtful and conservative in our approach to bring in our church back together. Although we are very eager we are very conscientious of our church body.”