Church Recommends Fist Bumping As Sign Of Peace Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Sophia Hall
March 02, 2020 - 1:53 pm
Saint Boniface Martyr Church

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880


SEA CLIFF, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A church on Long Island announced Monday it will be taking steps to reduce the risk of parishioners’ potential exposure to coronavirus.

Father Kevin Dillon, of St. Boniface Martyr Church in Sea Cliff, said people have been coming to him in recent weeks with concerns about the coronavirus.

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While the diocese has yet to come up with a list of best practices, Dillion announced his own interesting set of guidelines to the church.

“Rather than shaking hands or maybe giving someone a kiss that we know, you might want to do a nod or a smile or maybe what millennials do – a fist bump – or what the CDC recommends: an elbow bump,” Dillion told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.

Additionally, parishioner’s always have the choice as to whether they wish to drink from the chalice during communion. Although, the priest has yet to see illnesses transferred that way.

“During the flu outbreak, in the years past, we really didn't suspend the chalice and I said to people, ‘That's your call,’” Dillion said. “It still remains under the substance of wine and the alcohol, they say, kills some of the germs. I've never heard of anyone getting sick.”

The priest carries a bottle of hand sanitizer with him, but notes the most important thing is for parishioners to have faith.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended everyone be mindful about making skin-to-skin contact and is telling U.S. residents to wash their hands frequently with soap and water.

RELATED: World Health Organization: Coronavirus Poses ‘Very High’ Global Risk

On Sunday, New York confirmed its first case of coronavirus in Manhattan. The patient is a woman in her 30s who recently traveled to Iran.

Health officials say currently, there is little risk of the woman infecting others in the city as she worked in health care and took precautions when she began to exhibit symptoms.

The woman did not take public transportation and has remained isolated at her Manhattan home.

To reduce the risk of the virus spreading, New York will be instituting new cleaning protocols in schools and public transportation to use disinfectant, such as bleach.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said there is no cause for undue anxiety because the general risk remains low in New York.

Health officials believe the virus spreads similar to the flu through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The CDC encourages people to use hand sanitizer – in addition to frequent washes – and cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs.

They also discourage the general public from wearing face masks unless they are showing symptoms.