Churches in Georgia and Texas that ignored health experts and reopened recently amid the COVID-19 pandemic have been forced to close their doors again after church leaders and congregants tested positive for the virus, according to The Christian Post.
On Monday, a representative for the Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga., told the news outlet that the church decided earlier this month to no longer offer “in-person worship services for the foreseeable future” after confirming some of its families were “dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 virus.”
Church leaders said they had initially resumed in-person services weeks back after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp began to ease coronavirus restrictions on nonessential businesses in April, The Independent reports. At the time, the church said it had also made sure to adhere to social distancing guidelines advised to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile in Texas, Houston-based Holy Ghost Parish shut its doors until further notice after it was discovered multiple members of the organization had contracted the novel coronavirus and one pastor had died, ABC News reports.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said the church, which had also reportedly begun hosting mass at the start of May as some coronavirus restrictions on certain businesses in Texas had begun to ease, decided to reclose last week after the death of Reverend Donnell Kirchner, 79.
After his death, the archdiocese said five of the seven members of Kirchner’s religious order, with whom he shared a residence, “sought medical advice, and all were tested for the coronavirus.”
“This past weekend, five of the seven members of the Redemptorists religious community learned that they had tested positive for COVID-19, including two priests who had been active in celebrating public Masses at Holy Ghost since May 2nd,” the religious organization added. “As a result of these findings, all Masses at Holy Ghost Church remain cancelled until further notice.”