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State Reopening Guidelines for Churches Coming by Monday

May 22, 2020 by Juliet Bennett Rylah
St. Basil’s Catholic Church in Koreatown. Photo: Clinton Steeds/Flickr

Today, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will issue public guidelines for the reopening of churches and houses of worship by Monday. Newsom had already said on May 18 that guidelines for salons, churches, sports without spectators, and in-store retail were forthcoming, but did not then provide a date for any of those sectors.

According to Newsom, state officials have been working with the “interfaith community” statewide, consulting with leaders of multiple faiths and considering the different sizes and layouts of houses of worship to come up with best practices. 

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The CDC had drafted its own guidelines for churches several weeks ago. According to AP, those and other sets of guidelines were shelved by the Trump administration, but are now expected to come out tomorrow. Earlier today, President Donald Trump said houses of worship were essential and called for them to reopen.

Meanwhile, over 1,200 California pastors have signed a letter stating they’ll reopen in-person services by May 31 or sooner, regardless of current orders. The letter says that participating leaders “are committed to public safety and will follow reasonable guidelines established and applied to similarly situated organizations.”

Whatever these guidelines say, you can probably bet they’ll involve physical distancing, extra sanitization, and facial coverings. That’s been a standard part of all reopening guidelines issued thus far.

In addition to providing a date for church guidelines, Newsom also said the state will also issue reopening guidelines for salons and barbershops “within a few days.”

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