Some express safety concerns over church drive-up services ahead of Easter

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (KDVR) — Churches across Colorado are making changes this Easter Sunday to provide safe spaces for people to worship. Gov. Jared Polis provided an update for faith leaders Wednesday, saying drive-up services are allowed.

Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch is taking advantage of that option, offering both virtual and drive-up services for parishioners. However, some worry bringing people together in person, even in their vehicles, is not a safe option given then current COVID-19 crisis. 

“It seems like an unnecessary risk to take,” said Tina Hamilton, who occasionally attends services at Cherry Hills Community Church, “It seems as leaders in our community, they should be supporting what’s safe for everyone and what’s safe for our wellbeing.”

State guidelines for drive-up services include practicing social/physical distancing requirements. Attendees must use electronic devices or radios in their vehicles to stream the service. They must stay in their vehicles and not socialize through vehicle windows. Public restrooms are allowed but must be cleaned and have signage posted that they should be used by only one person at a time. 

State guidelines also say there should be no opportunity for in-person interaction. 

Dr. Stephen Cobb, Chief Medical Officer for Centura Health Denver Metro group, says the risk is low for those who wish to attend drive-up services, as long as they follow rules set by the state.

“But if they’re parked close enough together and the windows are down and the wind is just right, sure, it would be possible. The risk is not zero,” said Cobb.

Cherry Hills Community Church issued a statement, saying the services will follow state guidelines:

We are asking all people who come to keep their windows up at all times and remain in their vehicles. There are restrooms that are for emergency use, however only one family at a time will be allowed into the area where that restroom is and it will be cleaned in between uses. All church staff who are helping with the service must keep their distance per the regulations and no more than 10 staff will be outside at any time to make sure we are keeping everyone safe and staying within the guidelines.”

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