JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that he might lift the mask mandate at the end of March, but one church in Jonesboro says they plan to continue to follow CDC guidelines.
Reverend Greg Ota says they will continue to monitor COVID-19 within their ministry and make adjustments as needed; however, he thinks lifting the mask mandate by the end of March is too early.
“We’ve got to keep an eye on what’s going on with the pandemic. We hear what the governor is saying, but we have to think for ourselves, take care of ourselves and our own. Make sure we don’t infect or reinfect each other,” said Ota.
New Life Empowerment Ministries has a very limited in-person service and allows 10 people in the building. Most people view the services online. Masks are worn by all, and everyone remains distanced.
Rev. Ota says that even though most of their leaders are vaccinated and have a small church of around 30 to 50, they still plan to play it safe.
“I think it will change over time, but I think the end of March is too soon because even the scientists haven’t told us we that are vaccinated what happens if you get it. We don’t know that,” said Ota. “So, in order to be precautious, we need to keep the same precautions in place.”
Ota says they may make some adjustments in the future once they see fit.
“Maybe increase the capacity a little bit to allow more people to be present in service,” said Ota.
He says that churches, no matter how big or small, should keep church members safety the priority when considering which restrictions to lift.
“Our job is to protect the people God has given us. The government does its job. The church needs to do its job. We need to take care of the ones given to us. Make sure their well being is paramount to what we do,” said Ota.