The California Department of Public Health and Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new guidelines on Monday, allowing in-person church services with limited capacity.
Churches must limit congregations to 25% of the building capacity or a maximum of 100 parishioners — whichever is lower.
After 21 days under these restrictions, the state health department will work with county health officials to assess the impact in-person worship services have had on the community as it relates to the spread of COVID-19.
The state health department also provided additional suggestions as churches begin to reopen:
- Consider holding in-person meetings and services outside whenever possible
- Continue to provide services online
- Post signage in strategic locations to remind church-goers to wear face masks and practice social distancing
- Discourage sharing items such as Bibles and hymnals
- Discontinue offering self-service food and beverages
Newsom's new guidelines come just three days after President Trump announced he was deeming places of worship as "essential."
When asked about Trump's comments last week, Newsom said he had been in communication with several California faith leaders to decide on the best approach to reopen churches while maintaining public health.
"It's so important that folks understand we deeply understand, admire, the faith devotion," Newsom said. "We look forward to churches reopening in a safe and responsible manner."