On Monday, May 25, 2020, Governor Newsom released: COVID-19 Industry Guidance - Place of Worship and Providers of Religious Services and Cultural Ceremonies.
The document provides detailed protocols for church workplace reopening in addition to worship gatherings. While many news reports are summarizing the guidelines, PLEASE READ THOROUGHLY THE ENTIRE 13 PAGE DOCUMENT. Here’s a reason why this is so important: The following statement is only found in the Overview section (page 3) and not in the detailed bullet points (pages 4-13), “Places of worship must limit attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower for the first 21 days (at which time a review and assessment will be done).” Additionally, please continue to check with your local county health officials as the document includes the statement: “The guidance is not intended to revoke or repeal any employee rights, either statutory, regulatory or collectively bargained, and is not exhaustive, as it does not include county health orders . . .”
Let’s do the hard stuff right. Please do not rush to reopen worship. Reopen when you have the ability to ensure the safety of your members and community by following the protocols. Encourage and support those in your congregation who are not ready to come back. Where possible, please continue provide on-line worship for those who prefer to stay at home. Let love guide our actions.
I am sending this out to all pastors in PSD, not just those in California, as you may find the content helpful in establishing your own reopening plans.
Finally, letters have been sent to the three Governors of the states which make up the Pacific Southwest District. While the letters to Governors Newsom and Sisolak are very similar (co-signed by President Lange of CNH) in requesting their support for the church, the letter to Governor Ducey of Arizona was written to thank him for his continue support of the faith community. You can find those letters here on the PSD website.
May our God of peace continue to guide you in this important season.