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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Mayor Turner offers guidelines for religious gatherings to reduce spread of COVID-19

Last month, statewide, Gov. Greg Abbott ended occupancy limits for religious gatherings.

HOUSTON — There's fear the state is headed toward another coronavirus surge as some parts of the state are seeing an uptick in hospitalizations.

Meanwhile, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner offered guidelines for religious gatherings on Friday afternoon.

A committee of faith leaders helped draft the recommendations which include limiting services to 25% of capacity and reducing parking spaces to keep folks from getting too close.

“Our recommendation and let me underscore our recommendation to re-open at 25% capacity and consider offering pre-registration options for attendees,” the mayor said.

A task force also suggested parking lot signs to streamline parishioners and reduce bottlenecks and closing off parking spaces for social distancing.

“The venue, the number of square feet, the number of people, you can eyeball it, you don't need get out a calculator and a ruler and all that," Dr. David Persse  said. "We’ve gotten good at it."

Turner also had recommendations for inside facilities.

“We also encourage individuals to avoid sharing audio visual equipment like the microphones, pulpits as well removal of shared items like books hymnals, pans and offering envelopes,” Turner said.

The mayor emphasized these are guidelines only. Last month, statewide, Gov. Greg Abbott ended occupancy limits for religious gatherings.

On Monday, Houston reported a COVID-19 positivity rate of 5 percent.