In-store retail and churches can reopen, subject to county approval.
On Memorial Day, The California Department of Public Health announced all places of worship and in-store retail could resume state-wide, with restrictions. Each county’s public health department will need to approve the change, however.
Riverside County immediately approved the change, giving religious services the go-ahead but with social distancing measures in place. As expected, Los Angeles County has not approved the change but many officials are pushing for a “quick and safe reopening.”
Pastors have been putting pressure on the Governor to make religious services as an essential service, some have even warned that they would continue to hold services regardless of the order by the end of the month. While this was initially including as part of stage 3 of the phased reopening plan, it seems the risk of allowing it to continue unmonitored poses an even greater threat.
This what the reopening will entail:
In line with state guidelines, retailers will need to provide employee screenings such as temperature and symptom checks (which can also be done at home or at the beginning of each shift) and all the necessary protective equipment, including eyewear. Employees and customers will need to be able to maintain six feet distance from each other at all times, which may require a reduced capacity for certain stores.
The reopening does not include any salons or barbershops—any services that require long periods of one-on-one interactions with customers.
Riverside, Ventura, Orange Counties and San Bernardino have already approved in-store retail, while Los Angeles County is expected to vote Tuesday.
As Supervisor Janice Hahn put it, the stores will operate in the same way that Target and Walmart have been throughout the pandemic.
ALL retail stores statewide will now be able to reopen for in-store shopping under the same rules Target and Walmart have been able to operate under throughout this crisis. https://t.co/5YggUVmhbk
— Janice Hahn (@SupJaniceHahn) May 25, 2020
Places of worship
The new guidelines require churches, mosques, temples, and any other places of worship will need to provide a COVID-19 prevention plan—as is the case with every retailer. This a list of things, including employee training, disinfectant protocols, improved ventilation, and plans for changing layouts and seating to allow for social distancing. Service should continue to be streamed and officials encourage those that can, to attend services remotely.
Additionally, religious services or ceremonies—which includes funerals—can continue with 25% of a building’s capacity or up to 100 attendees.
Unlike retailers, face and temperature checks are recommended but are not mandatory.
Any activities that result in group aerosol emissions like choir practice or other group rehearsals should be avoided as vocal volume increases the risk of transmission.
Again, this is merely guidance but will not be enforced.
Featured Image: Anthony Fomin via Unsplash