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Kentucky churches begin reopening with new safety measures

As Kentucky begins to reopen, parishioners are returning to socially distanced church services.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Parishioners returning to Good Shepherd Catholic Church in the Portland neighborhood will notice things look a little different. For instance, the fonts at the entrance traditionally holding holy water are now carrying a different type of cleanser—one for the skin rather than the soul.

"We have hand sanitizer everywhere," Good Shepherd Parish administrative assistant Mary Jo McKinley said.

Parishioners will also notice some of the pews have been blocked off while the open ones have been marked by pieces of green tape, indicating where a worshipper will be allowed to sit.

"Father Deo and I went into the church with two yard sticks and we measured out all the seating," McKinley said. "We can sit like two parishioners in a pew."

The abundance of hand sanitizer and increased social distancing enforcement at Good Shepherd is more the norm than the exception at churches throughout Kentucky that are preparing to reopen after being forced to close their doors several weeks earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We'd love for them to come back, but we needed to be safe and we needed to wear masks or face coverings," McKinley said.

Good Shepherd held its first mass since it closed Wednesday morning. Ten people showed up, which according to McKinley, is about the same as before the pandemic.

"They were there early," she said. "They had on their masks. They came in. They went to their places. They did everything that they were supposed to do."

It's a similar story at other churches who reopened Wednesday. Rev. Christian Moore at Incarnation said there were 18 people at their morning daily mass. Everyone was required to wear a mask and follow the social distancing guidelines.

McKinley said Good Shepherd will continue following the reopening guidelines issued by the state and the Archdiocese of Louisville.

"Who knows what the new normal is going to be but we hope it'll be without masks and that we won't have to be so socially distant from each other," she said.

For more on the state's reopening guidelines, visit the state's website. The Archdiocese of Louisville's reopening guidelines can be found here.

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