Effective 2/6/21, the state of California will allow indoor worship services, with attendance limited to 25% of capacity. The revised public health order can be found here.
The health order says the linked guidance found here for places of worship is being updated. The document, COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services and Cultural Ceremonies, requires social distancing and specific cleaning protocols.
It also bans singing and chanting.
The ban on singing and chanting is allowed to stay in place by the Supreme Court with comments from several Justices that the record is unclear whether other places, specifically Hollywood, are allowed unrestricted indoor singing. That issue will be subject to further litigation.
The health order places the following capacity restrictions:
- widespread – purple – 25% of capacity
- substantial – red – 25%
- moderate – Orange – 50%
- minimal – yellow -50%
Presumably, that means as long as there’s a Covid infection anywhere in a county, with the result that the county will stay in yellow category, we will never get above 50% of capacity for worship. Obviously, that is going to result in litigation down the road, perhaps in just several months.
So for the moment, we can rejoice and begin worshiping indoors. Perhaps we should only have 25% rejoicing since our religious freedoms have only been partially reinstated, and that only happened after several injunctions from the Supreme Court forced the state to actually pay attention to the Constitution.
As has often been pointed out, I’m a little slow catching on to things. Didn’t see the actual announcement when it was made five days ago. Only caught on when I saw a tweet from Julie Roys (@reachjulieroys) pointing to 2/8/21 article at her website by Daisy Nguyen: California Revises Indoor Church Guidelines After Ruling.