WPD changes guidance on drive-in church services ahead of Easter Sunday

While still not advisable, police officials say services will be allowed under the governor’s order if certain precautions are met.

WPD changes guidance on drive-in church services ahead of Easter Sunday
Religious leaders gather for city-wide prayer (Source: WLBT)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Wilmington Police Department updated its official opinion on drive-in church services Thursday evening, effectively stating they will NOT consider it a violation of the state’s “stay at home” order during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PD reversed course from its Wednesday directive after conferring with the North Carolina Governor’s office Thursday. A police department release stated as long as health precautions are met, including keeping vehicles at least six feet apart, staying inside your vehicle and limiting vehicle occupants to immediate family members or household members, then drive-in services should be fine. The PD release still states local health professionals advise against holding services.

“They also believe that bringing congregations together, even if people remain in their vehicles, is unnecessarily risky at this time,” the release states.

Wilmington police sent out the original directive Wednesday saying drive-in services with more than 10 people are not allowed after they said local pastors reached out for clarity.

Citing both state and local “stay at home” orders that prohibit any event or convening that brings together more than ten individuals in one place, the attorney for the police department said at the time that they suggest sticking with virtual services instead.

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