Religious services in California will look much different under rules unveiled Monday that limit attendance to 100 people and recommend worshippers wear masks, limit singing, and refrain from shaking hands or hugging. The state released guidance under which county health departments can approve the reopening of churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship. They have been closed since Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It’s not immediately known how soon in-person services will resume.
The guidelines ask worshippers to wear masks, avoid sharing prayer books or prayer rugs and skip the collection plate. They also say to avoid large gatherings for holidays, weddings and funerals, and warn that activities such as singing or group recitation “negate” the benefits of social distancing.
The guidelines say even with physical distancing, in-person worship carries a higher risk of transmitting the virus and increasing the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, and they recommend houses of worship shorten services.
The congregation will have to figure out how to provide temperature checks and provide a place for individual prayer books and shawls. Orthodox Jews do not use technology during the Sabbath and may not carry most personal items.
NEW: California Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday released his guidelines allowing for houses of worship to safely reopen. It calls for limiting attendance to 25 percent of the building's capacity, or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower. https://t.co/an6vXQ2BG4 pic.twitter.com/Mwx5CCkddB
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) May 25, 2020
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) May 26, 2020