How people can safely celebrate the upcoming holy holidays amid the pandemic

Connecticut

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– As many are preparing for the Easter, Passover, and Ramadan holidays, they may also be looking to get together with family and friends.

The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Norwich has found a way to keep worshipers six feet apart.

“It’s boxed in so this side wouldn’t be used at all and we have two families here and another family here,” explained Fr. Demetrios Panteloukas of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

He says they will keep it this way for what could be busier services on Palm Sunday and its Easter Vigil which is in May.

“The fact we couldn’t have anyone in church last year is something we’re trying to anticipate because it’s hard to anticipate what we’re going to get,” said Fr. Demetrios.

In between each service everything in the pews is sanitized. 

As far as the service hymnals, they are kept piled up on an unused pew set apart from the others. They are not used during the service because then they would have to be shared.

Father Demetrios says half of his flock is still leary of the virus so he doesn’t expect to have overflow but some wonder if that could happen at other holiday services in Catholic and Protestant churches which will celebrate Easter next weekend. 

Most services during this pandemic are also streamed live for parishioners.

“We will be on Zoom again for this year’s Passover Seder just like we were last year,” said Rabbi Marc Ekstrand of Temple Emanu-El in Waterford.

It has never reopened during the pandemic. Every service and festival has been online.

“We’ve actually connected with more people so when we are able to gather in person we’re going to keep doing that,” said Rabbi Marc.

“It’s still really important to be vigilant,” said Hartford Healthcare’s Dr. William Horgan, who is the Director of Quality & Safety for the East Region.

He says people cannot let their guard down now. He says in-person holiday gatherings should be held outside or inside only with people who live in your home, and if you don’t live together masks should be worn even if you are vaccinated.

“When we’re getting vaccinated, we are protecting ourselves against getting severe or life threatening COVID,” said Dr. Horgan. “We can still get COVID and we can still spread it and pass it on to others.”

He doesn’t want to see a spike in COVID cases after this holiday too.

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