Sampson County church to host concert as NC continues to grapple with COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

DUNN, N.C. (WNCN) — The sign in front of Central Baptist Church in Dunn says it all. 

It reads, “David Phelps in concert.” The Christian music artist is set to perform Saturday evening at the church. 

Which in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic had CBS 17 thinking about safety.

“I think that as long as people are wearing their masks the entire time and staying six feet apart from one another. Just like we do at class at Campbell [University]. I think there are lower risks, but the risk is still there,” said Emily Rhoades, student at Campbell University. 

A woman who did not want to appear on camera said she didn’t agree with the church hosting the event.

However, Pastor Kelvin Blackman of Zoar Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church felt otherwise. 

“As long as everyone is safe and they are wearing their masks. They are social distancing. Hand sanitizer and doing whatever they can. I don’t have a problem at all,” Blackman said. 

He said his church had to cancel all of their events. 

“We will [have them back] when we feel like things is safe,” Blackman said. 

CBS 17 did reach out to Central Baptist Churchs lead pastor, Tom Wagoner and co-pastor, Cameron Cloud.  As of Friday night, we have not heard back. 

However, when we checked the church’s website for the concert it states: 

“Masks will be worn by all staff and volunteers. Masks are encouraged for attendees, as well. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available throughout the facilities.” 

The number of tickets sold has been reduced to allow for more distance between seats or groups of seats, and we have the flexibility of moveable chairs to allow for social distancing.  All seats, rails, handles, countertops, displays, and restroom facilities will be sanitized on the day of each event. organizers will be monitoring the health of their staff both before and during the event.  Any potentially infected staff will not enter the property.” 

Last week North Carolina health officials listed Sampson County in the critical red zone with a 11 percent positive rate of COVID-19. 

“We’ve been cooped for such a long time. It’s time for us to get out and do some things. As long as we are safe,” Blackman stated. 

CBS 17 reached out to the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office. They said they were not familiar with the event. They also said when it comes to cracking down on gatherings it’s a case-by-case situation. 

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