Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a guidance document for Churches and Houses of Worship on Monday.
According to the guidance, Houses of Worship should conduct as many activities as possible remotely. Any in person services must follow the minimum health guidelines below:
- Strongly encourage the at-risk population to watch or participate in the services remotely.
- Designate an area inside the facility reserved for the at-risk population or host services exclusively for the at-risk.
- Ensure proper spacing between attendees.
a. Keep at least two empty seats or 6 foot separation between any two parties on any row, except as followed:
i. Two or more members of the same household may sit adjacent to each other with a six foot separation on both sides
ii. Two or more people attending a service together can sit adjacent to each other with a six foot separation on both sides.
b. Every other row must be left empty.
These guidelines do not violate the religious liberty of houses of worship.
Under the extraordinary circumstances in which we temporarily live, these
guidelines provide that houses of worship may remain open. The guidelines make
only recommendations to houses of worship. They do not violate the religious liberty
of houses of worship because the government has a compelling interest in
recommending this guidance (stopping contagion) and the guidance is the least
restrictive means of serving that compelling interest (allowing houses of worship to
stay open for ministry, but suggesting ways that help slow the spread of COVID-19).
These guidelines apply to church services as well as funeral services, graveside services and memorial services.
To view the entire document for guidelines, click the below link.