New Bedford churches to be held to state safety measures

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The city of New Bedford’s health officials told faith leaders this week that Massachusetts’ state-level guidelines and protocols will be implemented in the city for houses of worship.

By order of Gov. Charlie Baker as of last month, religious gatherings are required to follow safety rules and capacity limitations related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jonathan Carvalho, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, in a news release Friday.

The guidelines outlined by the state say a church’s occupancy must be limited to 50 percent of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented with a city building department. Those buildings that don’t have a limitation on record may allow 10 people, including staff, per 1,000 square feet of accessible space.

In any case, no enclosed space within a church building may exceed occupancy of 10 persons per 1,000 square feet.

Occupancy counts must include both attendees and church staff.

Those who live in the same household may sit together, but must otherwise be spaced out six feet apart from others.

Attendees must also wear face coverings or masks inside except when unable to wear one due to a medical or disabling condition.

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