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(CMC)— Face-to-face services at churches, mosques and other places of worship across the island will be discontinued with immediate effect.

The announcement was made on Saturday, following a meeting of representatives from the Barbados Evangelical Association (BEA), the Barbados Christian Council (BXC) and the Barbados Muslim Association (BMA) with Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

The representatives said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting the health of the country.

The leadership of the three organisations have now called on heads of churches, mosques and other places of worship to revert to virtual services where possible, which would allow members to engage in group interaction without being exposed to contracting COVID-19.

According to the leadership of the BEA, BXC and BMA, given the current escalation in the spread of COVID-19, it is imperative that all faith-based organisations operate in a manner that supports the initiatives of health authorities in the country and protects the health and safety of their members and their families, many of whom face additional vulnerabilities due to age and other comorbidities.