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Rising COVID numbers not keeping most in CT from hoppin' down the bunny trail

Many places of worship are still encouraging mask-wearing during services.

MERIDEN, Conn. — Togetherness and worship are bedrocks of Easter and Passover. But, with the recent steady rise in COVID numbers, are people still comfortable traveling and gathering?

At St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Meriden, they've learned to deal with the pandemic, instead of being overwhelmed by it.

RELATED: Busy travel Easter weekend expected at Bradley International Airport

Churches in the Archdiocese of Hartford follow CDC guidance on COVID.

"So while the masks are not mandatory, we encourage them and then when we are in close proximity to folks for example during communion time the ministers of the Eucharist will wear a mask," said Fr. James Manship, Pastor of Saint Rose.

And, while today's outdoor procession was of course more comfortable, people are steadily returning for indoor masses.

"You know, it’s been just a growing number throughout the Lent of more and more people attending mass and, I mean, on Monday night I was hearing confessions for three hours straight," Manship said.

And at Filipek's, a longtime local purveyor of kielbasa, an Easter tradition has finally rebounded. They're thrilled to be happy to have their lines back for the first time in three years.

"We worked around the clock last night," said David Martorelli, owner of Filipek's

Selling an estimated 12,000 pounds of Kielbasa this week alone to loyal customers, who said they will not be dissuaded by a COVID uptick.

"They put the kibosh on us a long time ago and you know I’m not having big gatherings," said Stanley Gura of Meriden.

"I’m at that point where it’s I think it’s personal choice at this point, you know. If you’re comfortable, fine. I’ve been vaccinated. So, I’m not overly concerned," said Michelle Hanks of Middlefield.

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As for those hopping down the bunny trail for the weekend?

"We are all boosted and everything but you still wanna be really careful whenever you’re inside you always have your mask on," said Mark Parker, of New Jersey.

RELATED: COVID safety precautions ahead of Easter Sunday

Fr. Manship says part of the reason his parishioners have returned in large numbers is the church worked very hard to educate them on the benefits of the COVID vaccines. 

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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