The California Department of Public Health announced on Monday that places of worship and in-store retail shopping can reopen across the state, pending approval from the individual counties. New guidelines have also been issued in order for reopening.
Under the new guidelines, places of worship can hold religious ceremonies and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of the building’s capacity — or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower. This is subject to approval by each county’s department of public health.
In order to reopen, churches must also establish and implement a COVID-19 prevention plan for every location, train staff on the plan, and regularly evaluate workplaces for compliance; train employees and volunteers on COVID-19; implement cleaning and disinfecting protocols; set physical distance guidelines; recommend that staff and guests wear face masks, and screen staff for temperatures and symptoms at the beginning of their shifts; and set parameters around or “consider eliminating” singing or group recitations.
All retail stores, which had previously reopened in certain counties, can now reopen statewide for in-store shopping, subject to approval by county public health departments. This does not include personal services like hair salons, nail salons and barbershops. The guidelines that were already in place for in-store retail, including social distancing, proper use of face coverings and temperatures screenings for employees, apply.
The Department of Health also released guidelines for in-person protests, which limits attendance to 25% of an area’s maximum capacity, or 100 attendees, whichever is lower.
“Together, our actions have helped bend the curve and reduce infections in our state. As sectors continue to open with changes that aim to lower risk, remember that COVID-19 is still present in our communities,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, state public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health, in a statement. “As more of us may be leaving our homes, keeping physical distance, wearing face coverings in public, and washing your hands frequently are more important than ever to help protect yourself and those around you.”
The Department of Public Health, in consultation with local departments of public health, will review and assess the impact of the guidelines in 21 days.