BEAUMONT, Texas — President Trump gave governors an ultimatum this week to act, or else he will.
"The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important and essential places of faith to open right now for this weekend," he said in a news conference. "If they don't do it, I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less."
Some churches in Southeast Texas have already opened their doors, and others are planning to do so soon.
Praise Church's executive pastor Scott Hawk said he is just glad to be inching toward a new normal, but this is definitely an adjustment.
"Whatever we thought was normal, that's gone," he said.
Most worship experiences switched over to completely online services during the coronavirus pandemic. Last Sunday was the first time in weeks Praise Church was able to worship with people in person.
"When we went eight weeks being online only, and then all of a sudden we had nearly two hundred people in a service, it was electrifying," he said.
Praise Church went back to in-person services last week, but the staff is asking attendees to make reservations ahead of time to limit the number of people inside.
"We have a thousand seat auditorium, this past Sunday we only offered up 200 seats for each of our services," he said. "So what that meant was for every one person, there was gonna be four empty seats available to help spread people out effectively."
Praise Church's staff is also wearing masks when they're not on stage and have masks available at the door.
Parishes in the Catholic church, including those in the Diocese of Beaumont, plan to start having in-person mass on May 31.
"On a limited basis of course, up to fifty percent capacity, and we're going to follow all of the guidelines," Bishop Guillory said.
People attending will have to wear a mask inside, and social distancing guidelines will be enforced by skipping pews. During communion, you can still receive the body of Christ by hand, but they will not be offering the wine, which symbolizes the blood of Christ in the Catholic faith.
Pastor Hawk said worship experiences might not be the same, but the messages they spread will never change.
"COVID-19 or not, we're still gonna find ways to do that as effectively as possible, if that means we have to do more cleaning, more sanitizing, disinfecting between people that come through, great bring it on, we're ready to take it on," he said.
Other congregations around the Golden Triangle said they will continue online services indefinitely, but once they are ready to reopen, it will be a slow process.