Gov. Bill Lee at a Trevecca chapel service last year


Gov. Bill Lee on Friday offered suggestions for houses of worship hoping to reopen amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

He reiterated that they were recommendations and would not be enforced in any way.

But the administration suggests that churches and other places of worship reduce capacity to 50 percent, keep six feet between worshipers, encourage face coverings, exclude older and medically vulnerable worshippers at first and adjust operations to reduce the disease-spread risks associated with, for example, communion and offering plates.

The recommendations also urge places of worship to screen staff and volunteers with temperature and symptom checks.

“We have recommended, and we continue to recommend, that churches not meet during this time,” Lee said Friday, adding that he wanted to offer the recommendations in case churches decide to do so or are planning to in the future.

Lee last week issued an executive order allowing for the opening of all businesses except recreational and personal service venues on May 1 after his safer-at-home order expired in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post.

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