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Church reacts to mask mandate announcement

Updated: Mar. 6, 2021 at 12:16 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson recently announced the mask mandate could end at the end of March. As some places prepare to loosen restrictions, we asked several churches around the area what they plan to do.

Several churches, like Compass Church in downtown Jonesboro, say, for the time being, they’re going to keep guidelines in place.

Compass Church has been in Jonesboro for three years, worshipping at different locations in the town until finding its current location near St. Bernards. They are no stranger to transitions.

“Transitions are something that you should just expect,” Lead Minister Chris Harrell said. “Faith is dynamic and following Jesus is dynamic. We’re a people who say we’re simply following Jesus.”

Harrell says when COVID-19 started, the church had to adjust.

“We’ve had to be adaptive,” Harrell said. “We’ve had to change on the fly.”

One of those changes: changing a 240-seat building to socially distance 100 people in light of COVID.

As the Governor announced the mask mandate could end at the end of the month, Compass Church says they’re keeping their guidelines for now.

“We see us doing that for the foreseeable future, for the sake of our people,” Harrell said. “[It’s] just to take one less worry off the table for them.”

Harrell said the church has many people on staff who also serve as healthcare professionals in the community. For him, he says keeping the masks on is about loving one another.

“We believe our calling is to care for everybody that’s in our family and that will come into this place,” Harrell said.

Harrell added the church has done a great job with wearing masks and social distancing. He says the church has been meeting weekly to look at the COVID-19 situation in the area and decide the next steps to take.

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