California Announces Reopening of Churches and Guidelines That Must Be Followed

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is announcing the reopening of the state’s churches, along with the guidelines that will be required for operation.

Newsom released modified updates to the state’s stay-at-home order on Monday. Under the modifications, churches can reopen at a maximum of 25% building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, according to the California guidelines.

The new order will be in place for 21 days as county public health departments continue to evaluate the trajectory of coronavirus cases.

“Places of worship must, therefore, limit attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. This limitation will be in effect for the first 21-days of a county public health department’s approval of religious services and cultural ceremonies activities at places of worship within their jurisdictions.”

“CA has continued to flatten the curve because folks are staying home, practicing physical distancing, and taking this seriously,” Newsom tweeted on Monday. “Let’s keep it up.”

In addition to the basic social distancing guidelines suggesting people stay six feet apart, specific service modifications are also required. Routine cleaning practices are required for high traffic areas, such as sanctuaries, lobbies, offices, bathrooms, pulpits, altars, seating areas, pews, and podium.

Church staff will also be required to sanitize and disinfect items that are often touched. Those items are included but not limited to: “microphones and stands, music stands, instruments, and other items on pulpits and podiums between each use.”

The guidelines also include a number of suggestions that may help churches to better protect churchgoers.

From installing sanitizer dispensers to possibly purchasing disposable or washable seat covers and ventilation systems, churches are being offered an array of options to decrease the possibility of spreading the virus.

California’s decision to allow churches to reopen comes just days after President Donald Trump demanded the immediate reopening of churches across the nation.

During a press briefing on Friday, Trump deemed churches essential, as previously on IJR.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now—for this weekend,” Trump said. “If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.”

As of Tuesday morning, there are more than 96,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state of California.