Milwaukee area places of worship consider what new CDC guidance means for them
OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS 58) – The new CDC guidance on mask wearing means adjustments for some places of worship and maintaining course for others.
“I think we should just take a moment and pause to celebrate where we are in this moment,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN in an interview on May 16. Walensky added the drop in COVID-19 cases and deaths as well as availability and administration of vaccines allowed the agency to move ahead with its announcement. “It was foundational guidance, everybody’s really thinking about what this means now at this moment 16 months later as we really think about opening up.”
Last week, the CDC announced fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear face coverings in most settings. The announcement is leading to businesses, organizations and events to consider what it means for their safety protocols. Among them are places of worship.
“We’ve really just kind of been continuing as we’ve been,” Michael Peppers, the communications director for Oak Creek Assembly of God told CBS 58. “We’ve really tried to go with the CDC guidelines as we’ve gotten new information with the rest of society.”
Oak Creek Assembly of God is continuing its plan of optional mask wearing, spaced out seating, mask only sections, online streams of the service, extra services to help with spacing and frequent sanitizing.
“I think we are seeing people feel a little bit more comfortable coming back more regularly,” Peppers said in an interview. “I think this is yet another reason for people to begin to feel a little bit more comfortable.”
The new CDC guidance also means changes coming for Catholic churches in the Milwaukee area.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee sent CBS 58 the following statement.
“Parishes may make some changes that will go into effect next weekend, and the Archdiocese is encouraging them to accommodate parishioners who still feel most comfortable wearing masks and social distancing. Some may offer masses or sections in church that are designated for mask and social distancing restrictions. Parishes differ across 10 counties and each has to make decisions based upon what they feel is best for their parishioners, while also following local guidelines.”