COVID-19: Jacksonville church reimplements COVID precautions as cases spike in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One Jacksonville church is amping up COVID precautions once again as Florida covid cases continue to increase.

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A normal Sunday sermon at Northside Church of Christ comes with a message about vaccines.

“Each week I emphasize it from the pulpit just before I preach,” Northside Church of Christ Senior Minister Charlie McClendon said.

It was just last month the church was beginning to relax COVID guidelines.

“We thought covid was kind of dying out. We stopped doing temperature checks (in) the month of July,” Northside Church of Christ Program Administrator Stanley Shootes said.

Starting this Sunday, the church began temperature checks once again.

“It seems like now we have to go back to the way we were,” McClendon said.

Throughout the pandemic, the church never stopped mandating masks. Churchgoers must socially distance themselves among the pews, and communion is individually packed.

“We are believers that it’s best to be safe than sorry,” Shootes said.

Church members also say they believe in saving souls and lives.

LINK: Florida breaks record with more than 21,000 new COVID cases

“Every day I’m getting a text or getting a call. Someone is sick, someone has died. I’ve done so many funerals this past year,” McClendon said.

In saving lives, they’re encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

“We’re trying to spread the message of ‘everybody needs to take the vaccine.’ We understand people are dying because they’re not doing it,” Shootes said.