Delaware Public Media

Delaware offers guidelines for reopening places of worship

May 18, 2020

Gov. John Carney issued new guidance for Delaware’s places of worship Monday as the state begins to slowly reopen.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship are now allowed to admit 30 percent of their fire code occupancy for prayer services. But at-risk COVID-19 populations, including people over the age of 65, and people experiencing symptoms are encouraged to not attend community worship.

 

“All of Delaware’s restrictions – including those inside our churches and other houses of worship – are intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. I know it’s difficult. Practicing your faith is a fundamental right," said Carney in a statement. "But Delawareans who are at higher risk should not attend in-person services. Do your best to practice your faith virtually."

Places of worship have been considered essential under Carney’s emergency order, but have been largely closed due to a restriction limiting public gatherings to ten people or less.

Read Gov. Carney's full guidance on reopening places of worship here.

Some in Delaware have moved their services to digital platforms during the coronavirus outbreak, and Carney encourages those services to continue saying in a statement, “now is not the time to let up.”

Additional restrictions to in-person services include required face coverings, six feet of social distance between separate households and limiting services to one hour of length. Signage is required at places of worship to offer guidance.

Choirs are not permitted unless members can remain 10 feet apart. Religious leaders are not required to wear a face covering as long as they remain 10 feet apart from their congregation.

Baptisms, weddings and funerals are permitted if the other restrictions can be followed.