Coronavirus shakes up traditions at Tampa Bay churches, synagogues

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay churches and other places of worship are taking the necessary precautions to keep people safe amid coronavirus concerns.

As of Thursday, three people in the area tested positive for the virus — two women in Hillsborough County and a man in Manatee County, and state officials expect that number to rise.

Local church and other places of worship are erring on the side of caution.

Catholic churches often express their fellowship and union during communion by drinking from the same cup. Some pastors 8 On Your Side spoke to say they are modifying their communion service in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

“One of the Catholic traditions is to receive on the tongue and those people completely understand so those people are receiving on the hand. It’s really been an event that way,” said Father George Corrigan of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Rabbis from local synagogues say they are also taking the necessary precautions and changing the way they greet each other.

“We are a warm and loving community we greet each other with handshakes, hugs and kissing. We are going to try avoid that and greet each other with non-physical ways, smile at each other and maybe giving an elbow bump so we can keep ourselves healthy,” said Rabbi Rachel Blatt of Congregation Kol Ami.

Places of worship are also ramping up their cleaning procedures and airing their services online for people who may be sick or want to stay home.

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