NewsCovering California


New rules released for churches, mosques and synagogues to resume in-person worship

Posted at 11:22 AM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 18:37:04-04

The state of California released new guidelines Monday to allow for the reopening of churches and other places of worship for in-person services.

The new guidelines include:

  • Staff, volunteers and congregants are strongly recommended to wear face masks when in the vicinity of others
  • Congregants should be screened for temperature and other symptoms
  • Staff must be screened with temperature checks before their shifts
  • Offering plates (and similar items) should not be passed around between worshippers
  • The sharing of items like prayer books, cushions and prayer rugs is discouraged
  • High traffic areas, like pews and lobbies, should be frequently disinfected
  • Microphones, instruments and other items on pulpit and podiums should be disinfected between uses
  • Consider shortening services to minimize the amount of time people are congregated together
  • Places of worship should consider using disposable seat covers and dispose of them between services
  • Seating and podium areas must be rearranged to allow for 6 feet of space between people
  • Open doors and windows to encourage fresh air to flow inside

Places of worship are also encouraged by state guidelines to continue offering remote and online services. They should also meet outside to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 wherever possible.

The guidelines also ask places of worship to "strongly consider discontinuing singing, group recitation, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets."

Concerts, holiday events and other especially large gatherings should remain canceled for the time being.

See the full list of new rules here.

Guidance Places of Worship by Ashley Valenzuela on Scribd

Last week, President Donald Trump deemed churches and other houses of worship "essential" and called on governors across the country to allow them to reopen immediately. He said if governors don't abide by his request, he will "override" them, though it's unclear what authority he has to do so.

"We look forward to churches reopening in a safe manner," Gov. Newsom said Friday.

Last week the governor announced professional sports, hair salons may also be able to resume as early as the first week of June.

"If we hold the rate of transmissions... we'll be making announcements statewide, not just with the regional variances, that would allow for retail not just to be pick-up, but in-store retail to be loosened up," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.