One month after funeral services and weddings in churches or religious facilities were permitted to be held with numbers based on physical distancing protocols, Mount Tabor Church has pulled the plug on its recently returned in-person services and returned services to their various social media platforms and television broadcast.
This about-face, according to Mount Tabor Church Pastor Neil Ellis, is out of an abundance of caution and care due to the resurgence of the pandemic at home and in the neighboring United States of America.
The Bahamas, as of Wednesday, July 22, had 219 confirmed COVID-19 cases – 114 on New Providence, 81 on Grand Bahama, 17 on Bimini, one on Cat Cay, two on Cat Island and four on the Berry Islands.
The Bahamas recorded 90 COVID-19 cases in 14 days; 61 of those cases were on Grand Bahama.
Just before midnight Tuesday night, 20 new cases were confirmed in The Bahamas.
Prior to July 8, The Bahamas went 23 days without any cases being reported.
Grand Bahama had not seen a case in 64 days.
In the United States, Florida, the closest US state to The Bahamas, added 9,785 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total since March 1,to nearly 380,000.
Florida also recorded more than 100 new coronavirus deaths for the seventh time in two weeks, pushing its death toll from the pandemic to nearly 5,500.
The US tally of infections stood at 3.9 million on Wednesday.
“Over the past two weeks, the leadership of the church has been closely monitoring the resurgence of this pandemic both at home and in the neighboring United States of America,” said Ellis in a press release. “The latest developments have caused us grave concern for our members and followers who have only recently returned to in-person services. While we do not know of any members of our church community who have tested positive for this virus, it is out of an abundance of caution and care that Mount Tabor Church has decided to suspend in-person church gatherings with immediate effect and until we deem it safe for such activities to resume.”
Mount Tabor had resumed in-person worship services on June 21, which coincided with Father’s Day.
With in-person services suspended once again, people have the option of watching their live 7:15 a.m. Sunday service broadcast on the JCN Network, on channel 214, or their various social media platforms.
Ellis said they will continue to offer their weekly Monday evening “War Room” virtually, along with programs designed specifically for youth and children during the week.
In the press release, Ellis said
the church’s administrative office remains open throughout the week and that they will continue to facilitate weddings and funerals in accordance with the safety protocols as laid out in the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Orders for such gatherings.
Funeral services and weddings in churches or religious facilities are permitted to be held with numbers based on the physical distancing protocols established for Saturday and Sunday services.
“As we live out our commitment to God and country, we encourage citizens everywhere to remain spiritually focused while physically adhering to the advice of our COVID-19 medical professionals,” said Ellis.
“Throughout the evolution of this COVID-19 pandemic, as responsible Christians and citizens, Mount Tabor Church has implemented and adhered to the stringent health and safety protocols and practices as prescribed by both global and national healthcare professionals. One of these measures includes the delayed resumption of our in-person worship services.”
The Bahamas confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 15. All non-essential services countrywide, which included church services, were shuttered on March 20 in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
The Bahamas went through a five-phase reopening, which was announced by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in a Communication to the House of Assembly on Monday, April 27.
Worldwide, there were 15,033,861 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 618,994 deaths yesterday.
The virus, which can cause pneumonia, originated in Wuhan, China, in late 2019