California Governor Gavin Newsom’s new coronavirus orders prohibit people from singing and chanting in churches and other places of worship, an advisory that many religious worshippers would consider draconian.
Although it’s unknown how the governor intends to enforce the law, the state’s Department of Public Health stated that the law is intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Newsom’s order follows Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s mandatory mask advisory.
California’s official guidance paper states that Californians will still be free to attend church, but they will not be allowed to chant or sing according to updated COVID-19 guidelines issued this Wednesday.
The state previously allowed churches to reopen in May at 25 per cent capacity after loosening restrictions, and allowed—but advised against—religious attendees to sing and chant. Per the new regulations, it’s completely prohibited because “activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.”
“Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations,” reads the advisory. “In particular, activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.”
In accordance with physical distancing regulations, churches and other places of worship must limit their attendance to 25 per cent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.
The law is in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advice, which has said that singing and shouting are no different than sneezing or coughing when it comes to spreading COVID-19.