CDC issues guidelines for churches to reopen
(WLNE)- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for churches and faith communities on Friday, as more centers for worship look to resume in-person services.
The Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith was issued hours after President Donald Trump declared churches essential services and drew controversy by stating he would go above governors in ordering them open for public worship this weekend.
Still, the federal agency’s guidelines suggest that churches work with state and local authorities “to determine current mitigation levels in your community”.
Elsewhere, the guidelines resemble previous guidance the agency has issued on schools and businesses.
This includes frequent sanitation of surfaces and providing hand washing stations and sanitizer for staff and congregants, maintaining a distance of 6 feet, and encouraging the use of face coverings.
The CDC also recommends holding services outside when possible, or using a large, ventilated area otherwise.
Another recommendation is to suspend choir or congregant singing, which could release particles that contain the virus.
More specific guidance for churches asks to consider forbidding the sharing of any worship materials, such as texts or hymnals, and to collect contributions at a stationary location, as opposed to passing around a container for offerings.
Places of worship are encouraged to post signs detailing the new measures, and to consider appointing someone in the congregation as an information specialist.
In the event that an attendant of services is diagnosed with COVID-19, the CDC advises waiting 24 hours, or as long as possible, before cleaning and sanitizing.
©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2020