Confessions, books and peep shows: Drive-throughs help Americans amid
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[March 21, 2020]
By Maria Caspani and Katharine Jackson
(Reuters) - Father Scott Holmer sat on a
chair in his church's parking lot in Bowie, Maryland on Friday,
administering confession to worshippers car by car, at times leaning
forward as he struggled to hear them from the six-feet distance imposed
by social distancing rules.
After the Catholic church of St. Edward the Confessor had to close its
doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, Holmer said he got the idea of
offering drive-through confessions after learning about South Korea's
"Then I grabbed some cones, the sign and the chair, put them out in the
parking lot and just sat there," he told Reuters. Few cars stopped by
earlier this week, but things changed after a video of the drive-through
confessions went viral.
"Last night I just lost count," Holmer said on Friday. "We went for
about an hour, just hearing confessions coming through the line." If it
rains, confession is canceled, the church's website said.
Drive-throughs, drive-ins and similar initiatives are popping up across
the United States in an attempt to fill the void left by shuttered
businesses, churches and other gathering places as U.S. officials
ordered strict restrictions to help contain the spread of coronavirus.
In Great Barrington, Massachusetts a library has transformed its parking
lot into a makeshift drive-in where patrons can pick up books after
placing their order online.
Customers still have to get out of their vehicle to collect the books,
but gloved staffers sanitize all items before placing them on carts just
outside the building, said Amanda DeGiorgis, director of Great
The response so far has been "amazing," she said. "People have called
already, they're so happy to have access to the books."
Massachusetts has not yet told non-essential businesses to limit
in-office personnel but has prohibited gatherings of more than 25 people
and on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants,
among other measures.
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New York, California and Illinois imposed tough new restrictions
this week, limiting the activity of tens of million people and
ordering all non-essential workers to stay at home.
More than 220 people have died in the United States and over 14,100
cases had been confirmed by Friday afternoon, the surge in cases
reflecting an increase in testing. Health experts believe the actual
number of cases to be far higher.
In Las Vegas, gentlemen's club "Little Darlings" was not only
staying open but was planning this weekend to launch drive-through
peep shows that customers can watch from their vehicles.
"As silly as it sounds, the world can't stop turning for a cold so
we have to come up with something to cater to those guests who are a
little more sensitive to the issues," Ryan Carlson, the club's
director of operations, said in a phone interview.
He said "Little Darlings" was the only adult club still open in Las
Vegas, but it was not immediately clear if the business would be
able to keep operating after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said on
Twitter on Friday he had issued an emergency declaration directing
all non-essential businesses to close.
The club was implementing CDC guidelines with staffers washing their
hands every 30 minutes, placing seats and booths at least six feet
apart, providing touchless hand sanitizer dispensers for guests and
conducting three rounds of deep sanitation every day, Carlson said.
"At the end of the day, the government is not going to provide a
bailout to adult entertainment businesses or their workers," he
said. "So our people have to be able to provide for their families."
(Reporting by Maria Caspani and Katharine Jackson; Editing by Daniel
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