MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For many Christians, attending church on Christmas Eve is a holiday tradition; however, this year, that will look different for many amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“You have to assume that almost everyone out there has the virus and conduct yourself accordingly,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.
With the rise in cases, Strickland is encouraging people to skip out on in-person worship services this year.
Often times on Christmas and Easter, that’s when everyone shows up to church that hadn’t been there in a long time, and church gets packed. If it’s packed, you should not be there,” Strickland continued.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris echoed those sentiments.
“We’re asking people to do things differently this year. Just this year we’re asking people to please try as best they can to stay home with their immediate family members, and try not to go out unless it is something that is essential,” Harris said.
Many churches in the Mid-South are holding virtual Christmas Eve services this year, while others are choosing to meet outdoors, socially distanced with masks.
Mississippi Department of Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says outbreaks at church services happen frequently and says no matter in-person or virtual, don’t let your guard down.
“It’s easy with people they know. Most people catch coronavirus from someone they know, from someone they love, and that’s one of the things that’s so insidious about this virus,” Dobbs explained.