SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Calvary Chapel in Universal City has closed after an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff and members of the congregation. More than 50 tested positive, including Pastor Ron Arbaugh and his wife.
In a Sunday morning Bible study, which was livestreamed June 28 after the church with about 1,200 members closed, Arbaugh blamed himself for allowing handshakes and hugs. He admits when businesses started reopening, they relaxed the protocols.
“There are people saying that I’m the one to blame because I wouldn’t force you not to hug. I wouldn’t force you to wear masks,” said Arbaugh.
He notes that they’re a warm, friendly congregation, but looking back, he wishes he would have handled things differently. Arbaugh plans to reopen the church for in-person worship services Sunday, July 12, but he’s implementing some rules.
” We are going to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. The governor, as most of you know, has issued a new proclamation that mandates masks,” said Arbaugh during a livestreamed Sunday service July 5. “If you don’t like wearing a mask, then it’s just better to stay at home and watch online.”
He doesn’t expect people will rush back to the church, so he’s limiting Sunday services to one, and it will be livestreamed.
Arbaugh says he’s communicated personally with all of the congregants who tested positive for the novel coronavirus and most are doing well, suffering only minor symptoms.