MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The first weekend under a county-wide mask mandate put back in place because of a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, but the mandate carves out exceptions for churches, among other things, one pastor said they should be mandatory at every church.
A sign said that masks are required, greeting anyone who enters the Greater Imani Church, The Cathedral of Faith, in Raleigh.
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It’s where Rev. Dr. Bill Adkins said masks have been mandatory for all in-person church services throughout the pandemic.
“God gives us doctors; he gives us physicians; he gives us scientists,” Adkins said.
The most recent health directive coming from the Shelby County Health Department lays out several guidelines for wearing them, but it’s on page four where it carves out several exceptions.
Among them, they do not have to be worn inside in a “place of worship,” unless the church requires them.
“When the clinicians, the scientists, the doctors, tell you we need to wear a mask not only for our own safety but for the safety of others, I believe them,” Adkins said.
The directive comes as the county sees an explosion of COVID-19 cases, skyrocketing Sunday to the highest number of active cases recorded at any one time.
There were 8,287 active cases as of Sunday morning.
The number of active cases also represented a 358% increase from one month ago, according to an examination by FOX13.
But still, the mandate has opponents.
Adkins called that “extreme hypocrisy.”
“I saw a woman on TV yesterday claim that God didn’t give us a mask to cover our nose and face. She said that while she had eye-glasses on,” he said.
Of churches that do not require masks, Adkins said “we don’t serve the same God, because obedience is a part of the service that I give to my Lord.”
The mandate is in effect for 30 days, according to the health department.
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