Mecklenburg County mask mandate back for houses of worship

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CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Over the weekend, churches in Mecklenburg County were mandated to have members in face coverings from now until further notice. 

This is to help slow the spread of the contagious Delta variant. 

Fox 46 spoke with Mecklenburg County’s Health Director, Gibbie Harris, about the changes. 

She says so far all churches across the county have been in compliance. The compliance efforts are being compared to those last year with one Mecklenburg County Church that fell into the spotlight for cases. The United House of Prayer for All People had 200 cases of covid reported to the health department and just about 12 deaths. 

Fox 46 caught up with Dr. Robert Scott of St. Paul Baptist Church in Charlotte who says his congregation has been in compliance with the mandate since they came back into the sanctuary. 

“Wearing masks and while we have the mask mandate… I will admit, I love to see people’s faces as far as their smiles and their facial gestures, you can’t really get that with the masks. The other thing is… the aspect of being really able to fellowship and be with one another in a communal way has been greatly inhibited,” said Dr. Scott. 

We also spoke with the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth-El, Rabbi Asher Knight.

He says his synagogue has also been masking and social distancing. 

“For many faith communities of course there’s a tension because we are relational communities and we want to be in relationship with each other and with God and at the same time, I would say to those faith communities… what’s the most important thing we can do?

If we believe in the value of human life.. and value of people… then we have to do everything in our power to protect and do everything to save lives.”

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Dr. Scott also told Fox 46, he doesn’t believe God would punish those who don’t mask up. 

“You can praise God with a mask on.

You can pray to God with a mask on.

A God that can not hear your prayers or your praise through your mask may not be a God worthy of your worship,” said Dr. Scott.

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