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Gov. Abbott: Houses of Worship may remain open

The governor issued a revised letter of guidance for Houses of Worship during the coronavirus crisis.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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SAN ANTONIO — Governor Abbott is redefining the guidelines regarding 'Houses of Worship' during the current coronavirus crisis.

In a new letter of guidance sent out Tuesday afternoon, 'Houses of Worship' are described as providing essential services.

"Under the extraordinary circumstances in which we temporarily live, these guidelines provide that houses of worship may remain open," the letter reads. 

 Additionally, it is stated that local governments may not orders 'Houses of Worship' to close in the first place. 

With that being said, it is encouraged that 'Houses of Worship' conduct as many activities as possible remotely, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. When providing services in person, places of worship are also encouraged to follow federal guidelines. 

Some ways that the governor suggests 'Houses of Worship' help stop the spread of the virus are as follows: 

  • Encourage all attendees who are 65 and above to stay home and watch the services online, or provide a “senior service” exclusively for attendees 65 and above to attend in person. 
  • Ask all attendees who have an underlying at-risk health condition to stay home and watch the services online. 
  • Equip ushers and greeters with gloves and masks. 
  • Consider keeping child care closed, unless the house of worship can comply with CDC guidelines for child care facilities.
  • Ensure all attendees sanitize their hands and put on a mask before entering the building. 
  • Ensure attendees sit with their family unit, use social distancing between each unit, and, if necessary, add more service times to facilitate distancing. 
  • Clergy should dismiss attendees by family unit, maintaining social distancing. 
  • Staff should sanitize seats and frequently touched surfaces between services. 
  • Consider refraining from passing collection plates and instead provide a central collection box in the building or encourage online giving. 
  • Consider how the sacraments can be administered without attendees having to touch the same surfaces and objects.

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