By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Places of worship can start welcoming members in-person as soon as Wednesday.

Gov. Tim Walz announced today that religious gatherings at 25% capacity with a 250 person limit — are okay.

The news follows revised CDC guidance and the President’s call for governors to open religious centers.

Gov. Tim Walz’s announcement to reopen places of worship comes with the news of 847 new confirmed COVID-19 cases — a new daily high for Minnesota.

RELATED: Gov. Tim Walz Allows Places Of Worship To Reopen Under New Guidance From CDC

“I’ve already been getting texts from members and emails saying ‘hey what are we doing with this? how are we going to move forward?’” said Pastor Steve Klemp, of the Love of Christ Church in St. Cloud.

Klemp said roughly 200 of his 850 person congregation could fit in their building with proper distancing.

For now, they’ll start off small with groups of 10 and build from there.

“We don’t want to have any setbacks and the last thing we want to do is have someone get sick in our facility,” Klemp said.

“I do think we’re at a point now where churches need to open up to some capacity. People need to socialize,” said Pastor Joey Reichhoff, who has 40 members at the Cornerstone Church Saint Paul.

Some of his members are ready to get together, while others are not.

“A few months of separation is very difficult on the human psyche and on our emotions and everything,” Reichhoff said.

Some places have chosen not to reopen, including the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

Which says in part, “This decision will remain in effect until infection rates are reliably reported to decline.”

READ MORE: Some Local Religious Leaders Choose To Keep Their Places Of Worship Closed During Pandemic

State health officials are still urging people to think critically before meeting in person as many try to balance the risks and rewards.

“If we consider others before we make our decisions we’ll move in a healthy direction,” Reichhoff said.

“There’s also a spiritual side. There’s a desire to connect and what’s such an expression of our faith is often times in getting together with other people,” Klemp said.

The new order also allows for weddings and funerals. Receptions or parties associated with those events are still subject to stricter guidelines.

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Erin Hassanzadeh

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