By Frances Wang

CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – With indoor venues opening in South Florida, churches are getting ready to open their doors too.

At Church By The Glades, Pastor David Hughes is taking extra precautions as he personally experienced getting infected with COVID-19.

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Through church services online, Pastor Hughes said they were able to reach people from all over the world. In addition to online sermons, they offered the opportunity to talk to pastors one-on-one via live chat and pastors would pray with people through the computer.

“Our doors were closed, but our church was still open,” said Pastor Hughes. “At the same time, it’s no substitute for meeting together.”

Pastor Hughes said even through persecution or famine, churches have always been together.

“It’s a very weird time for us,” Pastor Hughes said.

Pastor Hughes even got sick and had to quarantine at home for 16 days. He showed symptoms like headache, cough, fever, and chills.

“It’s not fun. I was not hospitalized, very fortunate there,” he said.

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After recovering from COVID-19 and the church being closed for about 26 weeks, Pastor Hughes said he has a plan.

“If Disney World can open, if Mickey can do it,” joked Pastor Hughes, who even went to Disney World to check out their protocols.

Families can sit together with two seats between each group. Every other row will be used for seating. Parishioners will get their temperatures checked at the door and social distancing will be enforced.

“In fact, I want no one to touch you except God,” Pastor Hughes.

In these tough times, Pastor Hughes feels the church is needed more than ever.”

“There’s no substitute for spiritual synergy,” he said. “People need hope. They need inspiration. I think the church is absolutely essential.”

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Under the Phase 2 guidelines, churches can have 50 percent capacity. Pastor Hughes said he wants to be even more careful and plans on 25 percent capacity, with multiple services throughout the day.

Frances Wang