California’s church restrictions



While California has allowed houses of worship to reopen under certain restrictions during what seems to be a slowing of the coronavirus pandemic, other restrictions remain.

In spite of the changes, some places of worship may choose to remain closed. Crenshaw Christian Center will be among those churches that will remain closed, according to CEO Angela M. Evans. In a recent note to CCC employees, she wrote:

“Please be advised that Pastor Price and the board of directors have decided that the FaithDome will not be reopening in the near future. Therefore, the [California] government order allowing in-person worship services of up to 100 parishioners will not be in effect at CCC.”

The guidance for church services in most of the state’s counties limits attendance to 25 percent of capacity, or a maximum of 100 persons, whichever is lower, for the first 21 days, according to the California Department of Public Health.   

For houses of worship in the county of Los Angeles that maximum capacity figure “is understood to include all participants, celebrants, staff, organizers and visitors. Pre-registration is offered for all services and ceremonies to include participant’s name, email, and phone number. Measures have been implemented (advance registration, counting attendees at entry) to ensure compliance with house of worship occupancy restrictions,” according to the county’s Protocol for Places of Worship.

In several cases, Los Angeles County protocols are considered more stringent than those for most other counties because of the higher incidence of the coronavirus. 

After 21 days, health officials of both state and local governments “will review and assess the impact of these imposed limits on public health and provide further direction as part of a phased-in restoration of activities in places of worship.”

As part of the reopening, state official suggest that congregants should be screened for high temperatures and other Covid-19 symptoms when they arrive at the places of worship and should be asked to use hand sanitizer and wear face coverings.

According to the new guidance from the state, such centers of worship are asked to “strongly consider” discontinuing singing and group recitations since such activity may increase the likelihood of spreading respiratory droplets. In cases where those activities cannot be avoided, health authorities suggest that the number of those reciting or singing should be limited, and that in all cases congregants be spaced more than six feet apart.

The guidelines, however, allow that houses of worship may continue to stay closed. “This guidance does not obligate places of worship to resume in-person activity,” it says.

The guidelines for reopening places of worship came as a result of the growing insistence by some pastors and their congregants to resume in-person services. More recently President Donald Trump declared that houses of worship were “essential” and called on state governors nationwide to allow them to reopen. 


     
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