Fresno church continues with indoor services despite county in 'purple' tier

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "We are not doing this as a challenge to our leaders, we are doing this because we think that we are an essential part of the community," says Pastor Larry Powell with People's Church.

For Powell, that essential service means meeting inside the church for worship. Even with Fresno County moving back into the 'purple' tier.

But it's far from the typical Sunday service at People's Church in Northeast Fresno. Capacity has been significantly reduced -- to 11%.

RELATED: 2 Fresno churches to hold indoor services this weekend despite county moving to 'purple tier'

Social distancing has been implemented throughout the auditorium. According to Powell, pews are sanitized after every service.

He adds parishioners are also doing their part.

"We have asked our folks to wear a mask and we had probably 98% compliance today," he said.

While People's Church continues their in-person services, Clovis Hills Community Church is choosing to stick with virtual worship.

Their senior pastor, Shawn Beaty, says their decision was influenced by a higher power.

"Ours was not based on anything but prayer," he said. "We just went to God and asked what is the right thing for our church."

Beaty remains hopeful that soon, his congregation will be able return to face-to-face service.

"People were made to be in community and screen to screen is okay, but it is not how we were created," he said.

According to state guidelines churches can only have indoor service if they are in the red tier.

In Fresno County, the Health Department's latest report stated that new case rates need to be reduced and equity needs to increase before we can move back into the red tier.
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