Some churches taking extra precautions in case coronavirus makes its way to North Texas

Some North Texas churches are taking extra precautions to guard against the spread of coronavirus.

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas said parishioners will notice some changes for the foreseeable future.

Parishioners attending Sunday mass at St. Rita's Catholic Church in Northwest Dallas noticed a few things added, like bottles of conveniently-located hand sanitizer.

“Coronavirus isn't here, but if we can do our part to keep it from spreading, we are going to do it,” said Father Joshua Whitfield, with St. Rita's Catholic Church.

There are also a few things missing.

The diocese is temporarily suspending the distribution of precious blood, or wine, that parishioners may receive during the Eucharist.

And the sign of peace -- when Catholics shake hands or hug as a gesture of good will -- is suspended as well, until further notice.

“I was happy that they made the changes so we can all feel like we are less vulnerable to catching something from somebody who might be sick,” parishioner Susan Gragg said.

The diocese also recommends for people who are sick to stay home.

“I can't remember anything like this happening, so it's definitely different,” parishioner Greg Cummings added.

Father Whitfield said the diocese has taken similar measures during especially bad flu seasons, but not to this extent.

It’s extra measures that most seem to welcome.

“Better safe than sorry I guess is the attitude, and I thought that was smart,” Gragg said.