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and guidance from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”).2
Minimum Health Protocols for Houses of Worship
In accordance with Governor Abbott’s executive order GA-18, the following are the minimum recommended health protocols for all churches, congregations, and houses of worship in Texas. Churches, congregations, and houses of worship may adopt additional protocols consistent with their specific needs and circumstances to help protect the health and safety of all Texans. The same minimum standard health protocols would apply to funeral services, burials, and memorials.
We know now that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to others by infected persons who have few or no symptoms. Even if an infected person is only mildly ill, the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions that place them at higher risk. Because of the hidden nature of this threat, everyone should rigorously follow the practices specified in these protocols, all of which facilitate a safe and measured reopening of Texas. The virus that causes COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities. We should continue to observe practices that protect everyone, including those who are most vulnerable.
Please note, public health guidance cannot anticipate every unique situation. Churches, congregations, and places of worship should stay informed and take actions based on common sense and wise judgment that will protect health and support economic revitalization. Churches, congregations, and places of worship should also be mindful of federal and state employment laws and workplace safety standards.
Health protocols for serving your attendees:
Strongly encourage the at-risk population3 to watch or participate in the
Designate an area inside the facility reserved for the at-risk population, or offer a service for at-risk population attendees only.
2 Ctr. for Disease Control, Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Apr. 9, 2020), https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html; The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spread (Mar. 31, 2020), https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp- content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf.
3 At-risk population are those who are 65 or older, especially those with chronic lung disease; moderate to severe asthma; chronic heart disease; severe obesity; diabetes; chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis; liver disease; or weakened immune system.