As we begin to cautiously reopen businesses and amenities in Fort Lauderdale, one area of particular importance to many of our residents is when and how they can return to their churches, synagogues or other places of worship.
I’m pleased to release a detailed reopening plan developed by a blue-ribbon working group. We assembled a cross section of 20 religious leaders in our community to come up with advice.
This diverse group worked in concert with my office to review national and regional reference material and prepare this voluntary guidance on how religious institutions can best conduct their mission and offer services while protecting the health of their followers.
Each institution must decide on their own when they are confident enough to restart their services and programming. Many may choose to continue for a while with web-based or drive-in options that they started during the height of COVID-19’s spread locally.
Still, we all know that there is a desire for in-person services, and we anticipate places will begin to do so in the coming weeks.
Fort Lauderdale has a long and proud tradition as a community of faith. The missions of hope, charity and compassion that these places offer are essential parts of our city fabric. Their role is particularly needed at this moment as many families have suffered loss and hardship as a result of COVID-19.
This collection of protocols should not be construed as mandatory. Also, not all ideas may be appropriate for each faith. They are merely offered as guidance to assist places of worship during a difficult time in which many struggle with what best practices should be.