Grace Life Church tightens up COVID-19 protocols after school board meeting and community concerns

Grace Life Church has informed Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 that extended safety protocols are now in place during worship services inside the Gateway High School auditorium.Everyone is required to wear a mask, not just church team members.People will be seated in every other row, with families seated together and individuals spaced out.Personal greetings that commonly involve hugs and handshaking will be prohibited, and the church says it will continue to disinfect surfaces before and after services.Grace Life Church has a one-year lease with the school district to use the high school auditorium for two Sunday services in the morning.However, pictures of the congregation are circulating on social media, showing people without masks or engaging in social distancing. Members of a Facebook group called Parents of Gateway have expressed worrisome sentiments about the pictures and openly question why the school district is not enforcing the same safety protocols in the lease that are followed by the general public.One person wrote: “This is totally unacceptable and irresponsible. It has been proven countless times that COVID-19 has spread quickly through church gatherings. In some cases, people have died, including pastors.”Melissa Richards is another member of Parents of Gateway who is troubled about the church using the auditorium. “How do we know that building is going to be properly cared for on Sunday when there are pictures of kids running through hallways, in the gymnasium, in the auditorium, adults and children, not a mask in sight,” Richards said. The Gateway School Board tabled a discussion Tuesday night about whether to halt all indoor rentals.For now, Grace Life Church can continue holding services inside Gateway’s auditorium. Some board members were concerned the district could not enforce safety protocols during rentals. Other board members were concerned for legal reasons that the district shouldn’t single out any individual renter. Grace Life Church was not mentioned by name, but was alluded to several times during the meeting. The discussion will continue at next month’s meeting. Grace Life Church says it carries out several safety protocols during and after service, including using an air purifier, an electrostatic device to disinfect chairs, mandatory masks for all team members and staggered seating for the congregation.

Grace Life Church has informed Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 that extended safety protocols are now in place during worship services inside the Gateway High School auditorium.

Everyone is required to wear a mask, not just church team members.

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People will be seated in every other row, with families seated together and individuals spaced out.

Personal greetings that commonly involve hugs and handshaking will be prohibited, and the church says it will continue to disinfect surfaces before and after services.

Grace Life Church has a one-year lease with the school district to use the high school auditorium for two Sunday services in the morning.

However, pictures of the congregation are circulating on social media, showing people without masks or engaging in social distancing.

Members of a Facebook group called Parents of Gateway have expressed worrisome sentiments about the pictures and openly question why the school district is not enforcing the same safety protocols in the lease that are followed by the general public.

One person wrote: “This is totally unacceptable and irresponsible. It has been proven countless times that COVID-19 has spread quickly through church gatherings. In some cases, people have died, including pastors.”

Melissa Richards is another member of Parents of Gateway who is troubled about the church using the auditorium.

“How do we know that building is going to be properly cared for on Sunday when there are pictures of kids running through hallways, in the gymnasium, in the auditorium, adults and children, not a mask in sight,” Richards said.

The Gateway School Board tabled a discussion Tuesday night about whether to halt all indoor rentals.

For now, Grace Life Church can continue holding services inside Gateway’s auditorium.

Some board members were concerned the district could not enforce safety protocols during rentals. Other board members were concerned for legal reasons that the district shouldn’t single out any individual renter.

Grace Life Church was not mentioned by name, but was alluded to several times during the meeting.

The discussion will continue at next month’s meeting.

Grace Life Church says it carries out several safety protocols during and after service, including using an air purifier, an electrostatic device to disinfect chairs, mandatory masks for all team members and staggered seating for the congregation.