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Malheur County churches reopen with COVID precautions

Worshippers at the Butte Baptist Church leave service on Sunday. Most of the pews were occupied by one single-family, or groups sat on opposite ends of each other (The Enterprise/Kezia Setyawan).

As Malheur County enters the second phase of reopening, churches can restore in-person services with up to 250 people. But they are expected to keep worshippers at a safe distance of six feet apart.

The new phase means distributed seating, no talking after church, thorough disinfecting and a number of other small adjustments.

Still, for the 18,000 people in the Malheur County estimated to attend church, in-person services are back on. 

Pastors across the county are working to protect their congregations from both the coronavirus and the possibility of closing again if a case emerges in the congregation . . .