California bans singing in worship
Golden State churches already have to keep their Sunday morning attendance to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower. Now they can’t sing or chant. In new coronavirus guidelines issued last week, the California Department of Public Health noted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that singing can spread germs as widely as coughing or sneezing. The public health order, which applies to indoor worship, also requires churches to make masks available to those who show up without them.
How will the state enforce the ban? The order doesn’t include penalties, but Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, warned local officials they would risk losing state funding if they didn’t enforce health rules. Many places of worship said they would comply voluntarily. “We recognize that singing is a challenge,” Jason Batt, the chief operating officer of the Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, told The Sacramento Bee. The church already canceled its choir activities. The number of new cases being confirmed each day in the state has increased in the past two weeks.
Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties about court challenges to California’s limits on worship during the pandemic.
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