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Faith leaders reinforce COVID-19 safety messages as businesses reopen in Texas

Some North Texas residents are defying social distancing recommendations as businesses reopen. Attitudes toward COVID-19 have some church leaders worried.

DALLAS — As beaches, bars and other businesses reopen across the state of Texas, some faith leaders are urging the public to continue making personal safety a priority.

Pastor Clarence Glover, Jr. of First African Freedom Church in Dallas has been on a mission to reinforce safety recommendations.

”Certainly some people are beginning to become lax in terms of their behavior," Glover said.

Glover has been lining streets in South Dallas with yard signs reminding people to "Wear Your Face Mask" and "Keep Your Social Distance." 

The signs are part of the church’s "Hope In Da Hood" initiative.

”We are putting up signs to reinforce the social distance as well as wearing a mask," Glover said.

Reopening the economy has been a controversial move. The push to practice social distancing and wearing protective masks is shaking up behaviors across Texas.

RELATED: Checklist: How Texas bars will operate when they can reopen May 22

Large crowds hit the beach in Galveston on Memorial Day. Some families seemed to be practicing more caution around social distancing than others.

In North Texas, there was a mix of masked and unmasked faces as people went out in public.

RELATED: North Texas bars reopen, but some owners feel measured optimism

Pastors Jaime Kowlessar and Edwin Robinson are also among a group of African-American faith leaders in North Texas working to reinforce safety messages. They are reminding people that businesses reopening doesn’t mean COVID-19 is gone.

"Opening up the city and just telling people that it’s OK to have 25 percent capacity—what I’ve witnessed is just people letting their guards down," Kowlessar said.

"I see our people trying," Robinson said. "When they are out, I need them to remember that just because you are healthy other people aren’t healthy."

The group is part of a movement called "DFW Masks for the People Project." They’re distributing mask and sanitizer kits to vulnerable residents in communities across Dallas-Fort Worth.

"You can just see that this lack of social distancing is only going to lead to a second wave of this virus and unfortunately the most vulnerable communities are going to be the ones to get hit the hardest," Kowlessar said.

Reducing the risk of spread is what the faith leaders believe everyone should be thinking about as they continue to venture leave their homes.

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