California Revises Indoor Church Guidelines After Ruling

February 8, 2021by Daisy Nguyen, Associated Press
FILE - In this Sunday, June 7, 2020, file photo, a hundred faithful sit while minding social distancing, listening to Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez celebrate Mass at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the first Mass held in English at the site since the re-opening of churches, in downtown Los Angeles. The Supreme Court is telling California it can’t enforce a ban on indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic. The high court issued orders late Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in two cases where churches had sued over coronavirus-related restrictions in the state(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office on Saturday issued revised guidelines for indoor church services after the Supreme Court lifted the state’s ban on indoor worship during the coronavirus pandemic, but left in place restrictions on singing and chanting.

In the most significant legal victory against California’s COVID-19 health orders, the high court issued rulings late Friday in two cases where churches argued the restrictions violated their religious liberty.

The justices said for now California can’t continue with a ban on indoor church services, but it can limit attendance to 25% of a building’s capacity and restrict singing and chanting inside.

The new state guidelines limit attendance at indoor services in areas with widespread or substantial virus spread to 25% of a building’s capacity. Indoor services in areas with moderate to minimum spread are limited to 50% capacity.

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