PORTLAND — Gov. Janet Mills announced late Friday that churches and places of worship can start holding services again, starting May 29, but with new rules in place.

Faith leaders are grateful and appreciative, but many congregations still won’t meet for several weeks or even months, despite being allowed to do so, out of fear for their members contracting COVID-19.

Some of the major points houses of worship have to abide by to let services go on include:

• 50 person limit

• Face masks

• 6 feet between non-family

• Major changes to rituals

Things like communion or coffee hour can’t happen. Maine Council of Churches Director Jane Field said a lot of Protestant churches won’t be having choir or singing until there’s a vaccine.

“Church without singing, church without coffee hour, church without communion, church without hugging, church without handshaking,” Field said. “It’s not worship anymore for many people. We’re getting so much more out of online experiences.”

Field says churches can proceed how they want as of May 29 on whether to hold service, but many of the membership say they still won’t hold service for some time.

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