KY allows churches to begin reopening — with no singing

by Adam Ford · May 10th, 2020 9:08 am

Kentucky churches will be allowed to reopen Sunday provided they abide by guidelines stipulated by the state, which require limited attendance, social distancing measures, face coverings, and no singing during services by congregation or choir.

The state's rules for reopening churches include:

  • Places of worship conducting in-person services should limit attendance to no more than 33% of the building occupancy capacity, including clergy and staff-employees, while maintaining social distance between household units of at least 6 feet. This means that there must be 6 feet between individuals on a row and individuals between rows, such that a 6-foot radius is maintained around all household units.
  • Places of worship should ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that clergy, staff-employees, volunteers and congregants wear coverings (e.g., cloth mask or bandana) over their mouths and noses while attending services.
  • Places of worship should avoid congregational or choir singing during services, as doing creates a higher risk of spreading infectious particles. Houses of worship should consider alternatives to congregational singing, including by playing prerecorded or live instrumental music (e.g. pianos and guitars - no wind instruments) during services.
  • Places of worship should wait to reopen youth services (including, but not limited to, Sunday schools) until child care services have reopened on June 15.
  • Places of worship should consider taking congregants' temperatures and asking about signs of illness before admitting them into the place of worship. If they do take temperatures, they should consider using a non-contact thermometer or thermal imager. If a place of worship must use a standard oral/aural thermometer, consider having the congregant take their own temperature and relay the information to maintain social distancing and sanitize the thermometer after each use.
  • Places of worship making restrooms available must ensure restrooms are only used by one person at a time and all portions that are regularly touched (e.g., door, sink and toilet handles) are appropriately disinfected after each use.
  • Places of worship should not provide communal food or beverages to clergy, staff-employees, volunteers or congregants.
  • Places of worship should restrict access to common areas, to the greatest extent practicable, in order to maximize social distancing and reduce congregating. These common areas include, but are not limited to, foyers, lobbies, vending areas, community and multi-purpose rooms, and event spaces.
  • Because of the requirement to socially distance at least 6 feet apart, places of worship should refrain from the practice of handshaking, handholding or hugging.
  • Places of worship should encourage those at higher risk for severe illness per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines not to attend in-person services.
  • Places of worship must ensure facilities are properly cleaned and ventilated.

Gov. Andy Beshear had announced that he would allow houses of worship to begin meeting again on May 20, but three federal judges on Friday and Saturday ruled that they may begin meeting on the 10th.


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