LONGWOOD, Fla. - Orlando area congregations are going to great lengths to keep their parishioners safe this holiday season.
From the strings to the choir, things sound the same at Northland Church in Longwood this Christmas Eve, but they sure do look different. Children and adults alike dressed up in their holiday best, lined up to get their temperatures taken walking into Christmas Eve service. Masks are required and so are reservations.
"Christmas Eve at Northland is always a big big deal," Pastor Sean Cooper said, adding that COVID-19 guidelines and safety are the utmost priority. "Our sanctuary seats 3,000 but we’re only seating with Covid about 800, we’re spreading everyone out."
Reservations opening about 10 days ago going fast for the seven services which started yesterday.
"We’re capped out," Pastor Cooper said. Inside the sanctuary, there are assigned seats. "We want to be sure in terms of contract tracing, should something happen we can contact whoever needs to be contacted," he explained.
Thousands of parishioners and new friends are joining their services online too.
"That’s not a new option for this church. Northland has been offering those for 14 years," Cooper said.
COVID-19 precautions are not stopping the holiday joy. This ministry is actually embracing the times, theming Christmas Eve service, "No Normal Christmas."
Across town, Summit Church held two Christmas Eve services on the front lawn of the Dr. Phillips Center. There 380 socially distanced pods that have been set up, each pod large enough to hold a family. Every pod was reserved for each service.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest coronavirus news.