Today we want to give you a briefing on the new orders from the Governor and the PA Department Of Health announced yesterday. Many of you are most likely wondering how this order pertains to churches and church life.
1. The New Gathering Capacity Limit Order Does Not Apply to Churches. The Governor and Dr. Levine were both asked at the press conference if the new order applied to religious institutions and they both responded with “No.” Pennlive news article. Here is the exact language from the new orders as it pertains to events and gatherings:
Events and gatherings other than those in businesses in the retail food services industry addressed by Section 1.
A. Indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 persons are prohibited.
B. Outdoor events and gatherings of more than 250 persons are prohibited.
C. For the purposes of this Order, “event and gathering” is defined as:
A temporary grouping of individuals for defined purposes, that takes place over a limited timeframe, such as hours or days. For example, events and gatherings include fairs, festivals, concerts, or shows and groupings that occur within larger, more permanent businesses, such as shows or performances within amusement parks, individual showings of movies on a single screen/auditorium within a multiplex, business meetings or conferences, or each party or reception within a multi-room venue.
On July 1st, Governor Wolf instituted his current reopening plan with this exemption (which still stands): “Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations established by this Order. These institutions are strongly encouraged to enforce social distancing and other mitigation measures like masking at their gatherings.” Click here to read the order.
2. Further Guidance and Suggestions on Face Coverings. In case you missed it last week, we have provided some further guidance and suggestions on face coverings due to further information from the Dept. of Health. The Pennsylvania DOH released a number of FAQs addressing questions in regards to the Face Covering Order. You can read the entire FAQs document by clicking here. We have read through the FAQs and are using the answers as a guide to answer common questions we have received from pastors based on that information. Click here to read our guidance.
We are supplying this information to you as you consider what is best for your congregations, settings, locations, and communities. Our intent is to inform you of the information coming from our Governor and Department of Health to help you in your decision making process.
You can find more resources and guidance for churches and ministries at our COVID-19 resources page.
You can find more information about the Church Ambassador Network at pafamily.org/church.