Places of worship in Kamloops prepping for indoor services

Among the churches which planned to return immediately with services this past weekend were Oasis Church, First Baptist Church of Kamloops and Dallas Barnhartvale Baptist Church.

Some places of worship in Kamloops have begun planning or intend to hold indoor worship services following changes to the province's guidelines, while others will continue online and outdoor services.

The new guidelines, which do not apply to funerals, baptisms or weddings when they are held on their own, mean that up to 50 people can gather for an indoor worship service. Funerals and baptisms are allowed with the same limit if they are held as a part of the regular service.

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Participants must be spaced two metres apart, unless they are from the same household, masks must be worn, participants must pre-register and social gatherings should not occur at the venue after services.

New guidelines for outdoor services have similar limits and guidelines, except that masks only need to be worn until seated.

Among the churches which planned to return immediately with services this past weekend were Oasis Church, First Baptist Church of Kamloops and Dallas Barnhartvale Baptist Church.

The Kamloops Gurdwara Sahib (Sikh Temple) also planned on inviting people back for in-person services indoors.

Gurdwara president Dalbir Singh Gill said only live-streamed services had been offered due to pandemic-related health orders prohibiting in=person indoor services. He said people will be happy to return within the limits and with precautions.

"We have enough room for 50 people and we can have the safe distance and everything," Gill said.

But not all places of worship are planning an immediate return. Some are thriving on their previously adapted services, though still not operating near their full capacity.

Summit Drive Church lead pastor David Fields told KTW the church will continue its current operations, which include a variety of outdoor services and an indoor kids' ministry, for at least a few more weeks.

"We can host more people with the outdoor service, and our kids' ministry is a real priority, and they're well set up to do their stuff inside the building," he said, noting services for children have been allowed to continue indoors.

Fields said pre-pandemic, the church would see between 600 and 650 people between its three Sunday services.

Currently, the church is accommodating an average of about 250 people with the walk-in option held on the church's lawn and the drive-in option, during which 50 vehicles can be accommodated "and however many people the seatbelts can hold," Fields said, noting the church's live streams also still get views in the hundreds each week.

"So, we're not in a rush to get back inside the building. We're going to assess that over the next month," Fields said.

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