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Area churches weigh options amid COVID-19 concerns

While churches are exempt from DeWine's ban on mass gatherings, some have decided to suspend services. Others, however, plan to stay open no matter what.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — Area churches are responding to increased concerns of coronavirus in Ohio. 

Places like Cedar Creek Church in Perrysburg are suspending services after Gov. Mike DeWine placed a ban on mass gatherings over 100 people. Religious gatherings, however, were exempt from the ban.

"So, we started talking about this last week, encouraging our greeters to do the elbow bump instead of the hand shake and making sure that everybody is washing hands," Cedar Creek Church executive director of campuses Luke Shortridge said.

The church does, however, offer live streaming each week and will continue to do so.

"One thing that's nice is we do have that every single weekend. So it will be a little strange for our band to be playing and Ben to be preaching without people necessarily in the seats. But we still feel that we can reach people that way and we're thankful that we're set up in that capacity," Shortridge said.

While some local churches made the hard decision to cancel in-person services, while others, like The Church on Strayer, have claimed they will stay open no matter what.

"We're definitely having services because we keep our building very clean and very sanitized," The Church on Strayer senior pastor, Tony Scott said.

Leaders with The Church on Strayer also plan to carry on with their events outside of service.

"We open our church up, even during the most difficult times so that people have a place to worship. We welcome people to come and be with us, know that the building is totally and completely disinfected," Scott said.

The Church on Strayer offers live streaming and Scott recommends people to who feel sick to stay home and watch the service that way. 

Leaders with both churches said they will post other updates regarding in-person services online.

Facts not fear: Putting COVID-19 into context

WTOL 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit wtol.com/section/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 419-248-1100.

Protect yourself from coronavirus

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose wiht a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  •  Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined can.
  •  Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

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